Monday, December 31, 2012

This Year's Experiment

About 6 years ago I discovered blogs, and I absolutely loved the medium.  Loved the pictures, the personal touch, and the way I could be connected to real people, not just celebrities.

I started my own blog soon after.  Finally at the beginning of last year I decided to give an honest year to it as a business endeavor.  To me an "honest year" included posting every day.  I'm not sure if that was a good choice or a bad one, but it let me really share a lot.

I had several reasons to really do a lot of blogging.  One was business, but the other was a personal scrapbook of our journey/adventure of buying this home and attempting to make it livable.  It is definitely that...even though there are lots of detailed projects still to do.

Another reason was as a form of therapy for some intense pain and trauma I had experienced the year before.  2011 was horrible for me.  Even in my youth I had never experienced the level of bullying, betrayal and social isolation that I experienced.  Oh, and the manipulation into a bad building experience.  Thankfully God swooped in and rescued me before it went too far.  But knowing it almost/could/did happen caused  a host of things I needed to heal from.  So I thought this blog could help with that.

Conclusion?  Public forums aren't really the best therapy.  Face to face time with a counselor is awesome.  Talk time with real friends is awesome.  Personal spiritual time is awesome.  And journaling is one of my favorite helps.  But public blogging lacks a little.

So my conclusion for myself, and advice to you if you want some:  is keep a personal journal.  I've returned to mine the last few weeks and I realized how much it helped me.  I keep many of my prayers in there.  It's easier sometimes for me to write than try to express those feelings and questions in my head.  When I write I can also clearly express the experiences and moments that happen later when my prayers are answered.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Year to Be Born

We'll just say it was the late 70's to early 80's.

I wouldn't pick any other.  I'm glad to have lived on both sides of the "kids having cellphones" divide.  Ditto that on Facebook and all social media.

While it makes me sick to my stomach thinking about all the long winter drives I took as a teenager in an old car, with no way of contacting anyone....since I lived through it I'm thankful to know that time as well as this one.

I love my smart phone!  I love the convenience it is to get things like banking, organizing, adding to my calender, all done while I am out and about.  I also just like having all my important dates, numbers, etc. on one device.

I'm so thankful for the comfort and cleanliness of this modern time.  I'm so thankful to live now.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

If I Were an Actor....

(I am continuing to write using the prompts HERE).

If I were an actor I would most definitely be her:

or her:

I would love to be a comedian.  I get such a rush out of really strongly performed comedy...that would be thrilling.

In that vein, I'll leave you with my favorite Deep Thought by Jack Handey:

"The face of a child can say it all.  Especially the mouth part of the face."

Friday, December 28, 2012

For the Love of {Pantries}

What do you dream about when you picture the perfect pantry to hold your food items?

I start out with the door--I love the idea of a smoky glass door.  Something smalltowncandyshoppe about it, yet it also doesn't show the glaring colors or prints of chip packages :).

So, that would be for the "walk-in" pantry that has been the builder norm for the last couple of years.  What I've been noticing, and I think is better is food storage included in cupboards, right where you need it while cooking.  Maybe this is part of my disdain for and mental move away from the McMansions of the early 2000's.

Here's some of the new look that I like:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

My Favorite Place in the Whole World

This is a tough one.  I'm really racking my brain thinking of all the places we've lived, the few places we've traveled....I'm just not coming up with anything.  For me it's a group of factors:

I love to be somewhere with comfy, thick, clean carpet.  I like to be able to watch movies or TV shows I like.  I like to be able to have yummy restaurant or take out food, and I like to be able to sleep a full night.

To me that list just sounds like a fantasy vacation. If that were true I would add sunshine, a swimsuit, a nice pool or beach, and a magazine to read.

My first instinct would be to answer, Home.  Wherever that is.  With my family.  That is partly true, but I want to be totally honest.  Home right now is my workplace.  And my work feels like slave labor some days.  So the thick, comfy carpet is true.  And of course I love being with my family.  But take out food and a good night's sleep sounds pretty nice right now.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

10 Best Things About Me Are:

I'm using these writing prompts like I promised :).

  1. Honesty. Not everyone enjoys hearing the facts that come spilling out, but I hold honesty dear and consider it a gift I give others whether or not they like it at the time.  I've always erred on the side of honesty, at the age of 5 even over-sharing about Santa's authenticity to my entire Kindergarten class.  My poor embarrassed relatives tried to keep it in check, but honesty is one thing that I just cared deeply about and still do.
  2. Sewing.  From the time my mom showed me it was possible to construct an entire outfit from just fabric, I was hooked.  I loved clothes and the power to create them was thrilling and confidence boosting.  It also helped that the adults in my life praised the skill I was developing.  I always felt like it was a unique contribution to the world.
  3. Writing.  I never got the greatest grades or won awards for my writing, but I enjoy doing it because it gives me the ability to do more of #1 (honesty!) in a way that just speaking to people doesn't.  Often conversations leave out things the other person doesn't want to face or deal with so writing gives me a chance to express honesty even if it doesn't want heard.  People can take or leave what I write, but I still have the option to write it. That is very freeing.
  4. Shopping.  It's fun to do, but I also find it to be a skill, when it gives me the opportunity to make good choices for our family's finances.  I am so glad to have discovered great thrift and re-sale shops in our area so that I can dress the children in high quality clothing for less than I could buy low-quality clothing.
  5. I know the direction my life should go.  I am so thankful for choices in my youth that helped me follow God's plan...which is the plan of happiness.  So many things that have helped my happiness came from knowing that the Lord's way, which as a young person seems like a less fun way, ends up paying off in the end.
  6. The way I was raised.  I am so grateful to have had a rural upbringing, learning the life-cycle of animals, learning how to fix things, maintain cars, work in/on the land, and live without some things.  Now that we are city dwellers, I realize how rare and precious those skills and that up-bringing was.
  7. My education.  I got a bachelor's degree in Business Management 12 years ago.  As a stay-at-home mom it seems like something that might be considered irrelevant at this stage of my life.  I'm surprised that I call on that knowledge and experience more and more as life goes by.  Part of our family's survival and opportunity to take risks (like law school) has been rooted in our buying, selling and fixing up whatever type of home we are in at the time.  The principles I learned in economics and finance classes have been a huge help as I view family decisions from a business lens.  That has been a blessing to our whole family.
  8. Willingness to change.  Being open to other ways to parent than I had planned, being open to living places I didn't like, being open to view someone else's viewpoint has opened my world and made it better.  It's a force of struggle for me but one that I fight to maintain.  I want to remain open to happiness and open to it being forms that my human mind can't always picture first.
  9. That I am free.  So grateful for the blessing of this country.
  10. Listening to the Spirit.  I think receiving personal revelation is the most helpful tool we have to thrive in this life.  Many big life changes have come as I sought direction and I want to incorporate that more into my daily life as well. I have a strong desire to follow God because I've taken big risks in doing that in the past and then been so surprised that things always turned out bigger and better than I could have planned for myself.
***I know the prompt said 25 but this was getting too long.  So did this trigger any ideas for you?  What are the best things about YOU?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Blog Writing Prompts

Do you write a blog or keep a personal journal?  I find writing therapeutic and look forward to continuing to do so on this blog.  I'll be sharing the lists of prompts I am using with you in case you also write and want to do some of these yourselves.

In the coming month I plan to do an"All About Me" series.  I hope to do many others about religion, views, life-changers, etc. but I'm going to start the beginning...a very good place to start :).

I'll be starting with these:

  • The 25 best things about me are…
  • My favorite color is because….
  • My favorite place in the whole world is…
  • If I were an actress or an actor I would have loved to played the part of _________in_________because…
  • If I could choose any year to have been born I would have chosen the year ___because…
  • If I were a born as an animal, I would have chosen to be a(an) __________            because
  • My family would describe me as…
  • The thing that makes me happiest is…
  • The thing that makes me the saddest is…
  • The thing I wish other people would get about me is…
  • 10 things that really stress me out are…
  • My idea of a perfect day is…
  • My favorite dream was…
  • One of my scariest dreams was…
  • People misunderstand me when…
  • I love…
  • If I were a superhero, I would be ________ and would try to…
  • I plan to accomplish the following three things this year.. .
  • I really don’t like…
  • My favorite outfit is _________because…
  • My ultimate bedroom would look like…
  • The place that gives me the creeps is________because…
  • The most valuable lesson I learned last year was…
  • My friends would describe me as…
  • If I had $5,000 in my hands, I would…
  • If I had $25,000 in my hands, I would….
  • If I became a millionaire overnight, I would….
  • Here is a list of the most important things in my life
  • I am best known for…
  • The person I look up to the most is___________because…
  • I really should stop…
  • The most beautiful thing in nature to me is…
  • I have the most fun when I ….
  • The people that bring out the best in me are…..They make me feel…
  • Write a letter to yourself – Call it something like…“Ode to thyself”
  • My goals for myself this year and my plans for making them happen are….
(I found these ideas HERE.)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Winter Soups--My top 5 "To Try"

Roasted Pumpkin

Wisconsin Cauliflower




{Click on Pictures} to get the original recipes!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Removing "Cafeteria" tile

This took place in the tiny two-bedroom townhouse we lived in while hoping the house we were building would get done.  We bought that place to take care of the "3 week" overlap between when we sold our old place and when we could take possession of our newly built house.  Turned out to be a 5 month detour, since no house was built, but also a blessing in many ways.

We learned lots of additional remodeling skills!  These townhouses were originally built with this "cafeteria" tile in the kitchens.  It's hardy stuff, but so ugly :(.  

We knew we'd have a much better shot at selling this place if a more up-to-date floor was installed so we decided to remove it.  After spending 30 minutes chipping away at ONE tile, I was concerned.  It seemed like such a daunting task.

So imagine my surprise when my husband texts me while I was out of the house about a quick removal method!

Heat gun, baby!  Yes, that is the answer.  If you ever find yourself in need of removing any type of glued-on tile...this is the secret.  Methodically run the heat gun over each area of one tile.  Then peel!  The heat gun melts the glue and they easily peel up like nobody's business!  It was such a time-saving discovery.

Did you want to know what we covered this floor with afterward?  I wrote a post about it {HERE}.

Friday, December 21, 2012

A Quilt

It's been a few years since I've made a quilt, but I think I'm going to jump back in.  I tried selling the ones I made a few years ago without much luck.  Turns out I WAS the lucky one because our family has enjoyed them so much.

It is so comforting to wrap up in something I've created with my own hands.  I especially love wrapping up my little ones in a quilt I've made and see their look of comfort.  It is very rewarding.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

House Hunters comment

For an explanation of our past with the House Hunters show click here.

I would like to share something an anonymous person shared with me:

Our episode aired in April of 2012 and like you, everything was fake (we already owned the house, they thought our apartment was boring so they changed the story to say we were living with my in-laws, etc.), but the worst part about it was that my husband and I (particularly me) were portrayed as spoiled rich kids who were unrealistically picky and who were rude to our Realtor. All of the houses featured on our episode were beautiful, and I would have been happy to live in any of them, but you would never know it by watching our episode. You'd think I was some high maintenance wife where nothing was good enough.

It was our fault for being so naive and being so willing to follow the instructions of the director of the episode. He thought it would be great if I flipped out over an outdated bathroom, and convinced me to oblige him with an over-the-top performance. I was so naive about it that it actually took a while for me to realize that we had been demonized. I could tell that the director knew exactly what he had done to us, because after the show aired, he said something like "I'm glad you liked the episode and that you're not mad at me." When our episode first aired, I was amused because the way we were portrayed was so ridiculous, but then I realized that most viewers took it very seriously. 

There were the comments on local message boards that we were such an "annoying couple" and that I needed to take a "chill pill." We even received anonymous hate mail (sent to my husband's workplace, which was featured on the show). How stupid of me to not realize that people would believe the whole thing was real! I was both hurt and shocked that people would react that way (and also stunned that my acting was actually believable - I've never acted in my whole life, never took a drama class, nothing. Maybe I have a career in television?). 

We live in a small state, where I think only two episodes of HH (including ours) have ever been taped, and it feels like the whole state watched our show. So when we talk to people about our episode, the first words that come out our mouths are "it was all fake, and we were acting the whole time," but nothing corroborated my story more than when your account hit national headlines. So thank you so much for that!

I know it can be easy to think we signed up for it and knew what we were getting into, but until you've done something similar you may not know how you'd react.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hanging the Curtains

Years ago at a friend's house I discovered that she had purchased a fabric tablecloth to use as a curtain when used with the clipping drapery rings that slide over the curtain rod.

This turned out to be so much more cost effective--especially since we needed 104" long curtains.  I got each of these tablecloths
 (60" x 104") for around $11 at Target.  The rod was one we have had for years and the clipping drapery rings were $12 for 2 sets.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


I wanted a place to gather some of the comments written about the "House Hunters is fake" scandal for my own history keeping and to share some perspectives on it:

You can pretend that everyone does their homework before making large purchases. But it's not reality. Shows like House Hunters (whether they should or not) provide many people a significant amount of information about home-buying. Again the housing market crash kinda proves my point. 
And even if every did their homework...your premise that they would act rationally is utterly false. A lot of economists have spilled ink pointing out that for various reasons we are almost never purely rational actors in an economic transaction. To believe otherwise is as silly as believing House Hunters is real.

-commenter KDL on article-

The real problem is people looked at their house as an investment. When you look at it that way it is easy to get in over your head. Rather, we should have been encouraging people to look at a home as a place to live in and raise children and grow old. When you look at having to make the required payment for 30 years, rather than being house poor for 2-3 years and then selling for a huge profit, you can make a better decision on what you can afford. And as everyone expects 30 years from now that affordable payment you have now will be even more affordable if you leave the equity where it is.

-commenter Micah on article-

I hate to see 24 year olds buying a $500,000 house as their first home. Any when they say they have wanted something "forever". I assume in this context, forever means "since I got married six months ago". 

-commenter Margo on article-

Removing Kitchen Vertical Blinds

They were dirty and smelly and starting to break off piece by piece.  So when we decided on a new window covering, Casey set to work removing the vertical blinds that had come with the house.

The boys are always supervising

Good thing the TV is there to keep it interesting! :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Chicken for Salads

I love having slices of grilled chicken to top salads, mix with pasta, go in casseroles, etc.  Since it is getting a little too chilly outside for hovering over our charcoal grill I've started using this method to quickly cook some inside the house

These are FROZEN chicken breasts.  Just so y'all know.  This is so fast and easy.  Just set the oven to 425, rinse and season the chicken and pop in the oven.  Watch for it to look "done" and check with a fork to make sure the middle of the thickest pieces is not pink.  Sorry, I don't remember exact times.  It's a "wing it" kind of thing :).

Since you are cooking it super-hot and super-quick it has great flavor.  I really enjoyed it on this salad I made, using the dressing I shared with you {here}.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

New Fabrics

I did a little shopping the Saturday after Thanksgiving to get the great deal on these fabrics.  I bought whole bolts.  I'm really excited to quilt with it.  I've made a few things in the past including a queen size comforter, out of this kind of quilting cotton and it has held up so nicely and is so soft and comforting.  I'm looking forward to the quilts I can create with this stuff.

Check out my sewing inspiration Pinterest board to see some of my ideas for sewing this year.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Stroke Story, part 5

The doctor had some kind of a "map" of the brain that he showed me.. The map showed exactly what area of the brain controlled what. Almost every residual symptom of my stroke was listed right there in conjunction with an X-ray of the specific area that was a dead spot on my brain. Anyway, the X-ray didn't detect any new injuries to the brain, and I was sent home.

My daily life is quite affected by my stroke. Making simple decisions is extremely difficult for me. Deciding how important it is to make a decision, is hard. When I've finally made a decision, it's difficult for me to remember what I decided. I can't even remember why I decided to write this essay on my stroke. I enjoy writing. It helps relieve my anxiety a little.. I'd be embarrassed for anybody to know how long it takes me to write something. I used to consider myself a very good speller. I'm definitely NOT, any more. 

Reminiscing about my stroke has brought a few memories and questions to mind. Previous to my official "stroke", I had incidents that may have been indicators of an upcoming problem. I'm thinking that maybe I was experiencing "mini-strokes" well in advance of my regular stroke. I experienced numerous accidents, particularly "falls" off my truck or trailer. All of these falls were kind of questionable as to the reason "why" said accident occurred, and all of these many accidents happened a year or two just previous to the main stroke. I did have to have neck surgery because of a fall. I had to have knee surgery that might possibly have been connected to a fall. My brother always did suspect that I was having blackouts, dizzy spells, or SOMETHING out of the ordinary. 

A NOTE FROM BOBI:  I hope you learned something from my Dad's story that could help you identify a stroke in progress or just be sympathetic in a new way for those who have had this experience.  If you have any questions feel free to comment or send me an email and I and/or my Dad will do our best to answer them.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Weathering Wood

Have you tried this yet?  You can take regular lumber from the hardware store and "weather" or "age" it to look like old barn wood.  Since that look is all the rage, and old barns aren't being torn down every day in everyone's neighborhood it's a great way to get the look.  Here's how:

  1. Get 0000 Steel wool.  Rinse under water.
  2. Pick it apart into little bits
  3. Add to a jar of vinegar (the variety you pick will affect the coloring of the stain--white made a very light aging for me.  Try balsamic or apple cider for browner aging).
  4. Let the vinegar and steel wool mix "brew" for 24-48 hours.  
  5. Shake well and then apply stain to wood.
  6. WAIT!  It takes a few hours for the aging effect to really sink in to see what color you've created.

A Stroke Story, part 4

That was more difficult for me in that I think nearly everybody likes to be proud of their own intelligence, knowledge, and their ability to learn and remember stuff. I'm often having to drop out of a discussion, a lesson, or a movie, or a book. I had to drop out of a Spanish class, because I just couldn't cut it.. It was pretty humiliating. And, it just plain made me feel bad. 

I try to keep my sense of humor right out in the fore-front.. Quite often I use self-deprecating humor to make things that are difficult for me to not seem like a big deal. This seems fine, but what surprises me about myself is that if someone else makes fun of my intelligence, or lack of intelligence, or inability to accomplish some task, I feel put in a corner where I have a hard time deciding whether to continue on and join in the laughter....or whether I should flee and get away from the ridicule... or whether I should simply be insulted and knock somebody out.. I guess I need to admit....some of the problem is that I seem to be okay at teasing or ridiculing myself and others,.... but, I'm not worth a hoot at TAKING the teasing.. That's not very fair to others, huh?? Being teased seems to either totally stress me out, hurt my feelings or makes me want to fight.. I think quite a few people have unintentionally driven me away, just because I couldn't deal with a little teasing.. I guess I need suggestions on how to mentally handle this. If I can deal it out, and I tend to deal out plenty, I should be able take it.

A serious problem I have now that I never had before is, "I get lost easily"... Even having a GPS unit with me, I can and do get lost when I'm hunting, especially in the woods. I've came to the conclusion that my being tired has a very direct affect on my mental faculties. When I'm tired, I don't know how to operate my GPS. I've had to be "rescued" by my friends or brothers at least two times in the last few years. A somewhat alarming aspect of this is, when I'm tired and lost, I DON'T CARE THAT I'M LOST. It's worrisome, embarrassing and humiliating for a guy who's been an outdoors-man his whole life. My choice is to laugh... or cry... I also quite often lose track of where I left my car in a parking lot of a grocery store or mall.. It can be because I forgot about where I parked the vehicle... or the problem can be that I forgot exactly WHICH vehicle I had driven that day.. Picture a grandpa with a little grandson in a grocery store parking lot, trying to escape a downpour of rain, and Grandpa can't find his car.... I've been there... more than once.

Now, the second and most important thing that I feel severely affects my employ-ability is my judgment... or decision making ability. This is very difficult for me to describe or talk about. Here's the trouble.. I DO NOT have confidence in my ability to analyze a certain thing or a situation, and come up with a proper way to handle it. An exaggerated example might be "It takes me 1/2 hour to decide which shoes to wear that day." Or, "I simply CANNOT decide what to do, today", even though I might have dozens of things I need to get done. It seems impossible for me to decide whether an item of clothing is too dirty to wear another day. I agonize over a decision as to whether to go to town, today.... or wait for another day. Deciding whether to go on some trip. Deciding what to fix myself to eat. Deciding whether I need a shower, or not. Believe me, it goes on and on. It causes me to question whether I am qualified to drive.... or qualified to use a firearm... My doctor has told me I shouldn't use power tools. For me, it is a complicated issue. It makes me wonder just what I AM good for.

Back to the physical problems. Another symptom that bothered me often after my original stroke, were these little "mini-strokes", they're called. I shouldn't say they bothered ME so much as that they bothered my wife. I, myself, cannot tell when I am having one. But, Sheryl says that I can behave pretty weird when this is going on. Sheryl, when she detected the first one I had shortly after my original stroke, took me to the hospital. There really wasn't anything they could do to help, but they did take X-rays of my head and brain. A doctor showed me my X-ray and pointed out a dark spot, about the size of a quarter, on the left side of my brain.

(to be continued....)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

World's Ugliest Curtains?

I've loved designing Christmas tree skirts, but I found out...the hard way....that some things I just ought to use patterns for :).

A Stroke Story (part 3)

At some time, I was told that I didn't qualify for the "super 2,000 dollar clot-busting shot" because they could not tell exactly "when" the stroke took place.. The policy was the shot could only be given if it fell within two hours of the onset of the stroke. 

I'm quite confused on the passage of time, but I do remember trying to sleep. I would wake up often and try to wiggle my right arm, hand or fingers. Nada. Still dead. I had to look to see if they were still there. The magic 24 hour mark came and went.. I was becoming a little more depressed with each minute that passed. I was trying to imagine the rest of my life without the use of my right hand and arm. BUT, at about 25 1/2 hours, I thought maybe I was making my fingers wiggle a little bit.. I wasn't sure, but I perked up a bit. After another 1/2 hour, I actually WAS wiggling my fingers a tiny bit AND moving my wrist just a little.. I continued improving every hour.. When the doctor stopped by to see me the next day, I surprised him by reaching out with my right arm, hand and fingers and shaking hands with him.. He was impressed.

Now, 9 years later, I probably have never really came back to 100% in the functionality of my right side, but I've came back to probably at least 80%. I try not to show symptoms, but, I do have a bit of a hitch in my right-side "get-along". I have a little trouble manipulating things with my right hand and fingers. I find if I need to have a little more dexterity in working with small objects, I switch to my left hand. The right side of my face is about half numb all the time.. Slobbering is still a constant problem. I go through spells, when eating, of biting my own cheek and tongue, to the point of causing a bloody mouth. I'm on Coumadin (a blood thinner) and it causes me to cut or bruise real easily. My vision is impaired sometimes because of tiny blood vessels inside my eye balls bursting and spraying tiny blood droplets inside my eye ball. The blood droplets appear similar to lots of black sand floating around inside my eye, when that happens. It takes a few weeks for the black dots to start dissolving.

That mostly concludes the saga of my stroke, as far as looking at it from a purely physical stand point. I have residual physical limitations or symptoms, but not very difficult ones. I am most fortunate. Most people, just by looking, I don't believe would know that I've had a stroke.. I'm quite grateful that the stroke didn't affect me as much as strokes have affected others I know. 

The mental ramifications of my stroke are not quite as subtle I would say that my biggest problems from my stroke are mental.. I tell people that I'm about a half bubble off because of my stroke. They laugh, mostly, I think, because they think I'm trying to be funny. Most don't understand that I'm asking for understanding.... not a laugh. I hope for understanding for when I can't think of a word, or I can't remember something important, or when I say something really stupid or inappropriate, or display a real lack of reasoning ability or the ability to make a decision. Trying to remember things is almost a constant problem for me. Being forgetful can be somewhat "funny" at times..... but, it very quickly becomes "not so funny" when I'm constantly forgetting things that are very important to me or to those I deal with. ... things that I look forward to or make commitments to someone to do. My poor memory is one of two things that make me consider myself "unemployable". I can explain to people my problems with memory, and they can profess to understand.... but it still makes some people quite angry or hurt when I forget something that is really important to THEM. I've found that I can go completely out of my way to explain my memory problems to someone, and they'll simply say something like, "Yeah.. I have that problem, too...and then they'll go on to later be insulted or mad when I forget something. One does get tired of the constant struggle.
Another problem I have to deal with is, without taking time to come up with some fancy words for......... I'm somewhat more stupid, now.. I know.. That doesn't seem like a good way to refer to oneself. Perhaps I can make it sound a little better by saying that my "learning ability has been impaired"... or "my intellectual capacity has been diminished."

(to be continued...)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Stroke Story, part 2

Sheryl helped me get to my feet and helped me walk, and we slowly hobbled into the living room, where I thought was a more proper place to wait for the ambulance. I still hadn't got around to going to the bathroom, so I thought that might be a good idea.. So, Sheryl helped me get to the bathroom.. I'll have to ask her, because I really don't remember how that worked out.

It took a terribly long time for the ambulance to arrive. They came in, and the first thing they wanted to do was to put an I.V. in my arm. I've never understood what in the world good it would do me to have an I.V., especially in the case of a stroke. They tried... and tried... and tried.. One of the ambulance personnel asked me how I felt.. I was, by this time, able to garble out some actual words.. I'm sure I sounded like Foster Brooks when I told them that I felt just like I do when I drink a whole 6-pack of beer. All action stopped. Everything went totally quiet and the crew began acting like they were going to pack up and leave.. Sheryl, seeing that they had jumped to an incorrect conclusion that I was drunk, interceded then, and told them emphatically to not listen to me... that I hadn't had a drop to drink.. She told them that I must be having a stroke, or something.. They grudgingly returned their attention to me. They gave up on the I.V., helped me onto a gurney, and took me out to the ambulance and slid me in the back.. I felt like I was being treated like a chunk of dead meat. Sheryl watched them leave the yard with me in the ambulance.. She says that she looked out the picture window and saw my truck sitting in the moon light over by the garage... and knew, at that moment, that our lives had just been changed forever.

Just as we left our property, somebody in the ambulance said something, and the ambulance quickly stopped, and someone bailed out, grabbed the back door, opened it and slammed it shut a couple of times.. Someone cussed at the door a little and slammed it shut again.. It must have finally fully latched. Then we were all aboard again, and we took off for town. I remember asking, "Don't I get the red lights and siren treatment???" Nobody was speaking. They hadn't spoken a word since successfully closing the door of the ambulance. So, I stayed quiet for the time being, but asked again as we were going down main street in Cody.. "No red lights and siren??" Silence.. Maybe they couldn't hear or understand what I was saying. So, I repeated the question. Someone finally spoke up and said, "No!!!!!!"..... Maybe they were still suspicious that I was drunk... I really don't know.. (Note: We were later haunted by our health insurance company because someone in the ambulance crew wrote on a report that he didn't think anything was wrong with me.) But, ya know.... I just can't stand someone who doesn't have at least a little bit of a sense of humor.. This ambulance crew needed to get a job in a morgue, or something.

My arrival at the hospital had to have been at least 1 1/2 hours from the time Sheryl initiated the call.. Since that incident, we've pretty much decided that, in the future, if the same type of thing happens, Sheryl will call a neighbor to help her drag me to the car, and then she'll haul me to the hospital herself.. We figure she could get me there in less than half the time.... and probably 1/20th the cost..

At the hospital emergency room, my speech was slowly improving, my right leg was continuing to improve, but my right hand and arm were still deader than a door nail. My face felt pretty funny and I was told that the right side of my face and mouth had a droop. I was thinking a little more clearly by this time.... and I didn't like what I was thinking. I remember choosing to stay in Cody and be treated by Dr. McCue, instead of accepting the option of being transported to Billings to be cared for by a specialist.. After a few hours of no additional improvement, I was told that any paralysis that lasts longer than 24 hours would probably be permanent. Oh, great!! 

(to be continued....)

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Stroke Story, part 1

MY STROKE by Carl D. Morris (my Dad)

About 9 years ago, I had my fourth heart attack. A Billings, MT hospital heart surgeon went up the artery from my groin area, on up to my heart, and attempted to put stents in and reopen a blockage. When I came out of surgery, I was informed that the procedure was not successful. They reported that they did put in a couple more stents, but there was too much blockage in a bad place, so they gave up.. The stents failed to restore any of the blocked blood flow. It was too late to save or help that portion of the heart that was damaged. Today, it shows up as a big dark spot on the side of my heart, when viewed via an X-ray. I was soon sent home to recover.

About 10 days later, I was asleep at home, when something began telling me, "Wake up!! Something is wrong. You have to wake up. Something is wrong and you have to wake up." So, I woke up. I looked around.. I might have felt a little funny, but nothing really seemed too wrong. I thought "Well, I don't know what the deal is, but beings I'm awake, I might as well get up and go to the bathroom." (Note: I will continue telling this story from my perspective at that time and in the way I was thinking of things. The thoughts I was thinking seem quite humorous, now.)

Well, it didn't seem as easy to sit up in bed as it should have been. For some reason, my right hand and arm didn't seem willing to help by doing their share. Oh, well. I can do it with just my left arm, anyway. As I teetered on the edge of the bed, mostly successful in my efforts to hold my head up, I reached for my glasses on the dresser. Wait!! What?? It didn't happen!! My right hand and arm didn't even move a wiggle towards obeying my command to fetch my glasses.. Hmm.. I wonder why that might be?? Oh, well. No big deal. I'll just use my left. Okay.. I've got my glasses on, now. With difficulty, I stand up beside my bed and quickly take off for the bathroom. Crash!! Down I go!! Oh, crud.. What a racket!! And, now I can tell I've woke up Sheryl.. How dumb. She turns the bedside light on. I'm trying to quickly stand up or get up... or anything... just so I won't look so stupid and feel so embarrassed. I seem to remember her fearfully asking me what was wrong. I answered something like "Nothing is wrong.. Everything is okay..".. Or, at least, I THOUGHT I'd answered. Oh, oh.. She's getting on the phone. I flop around, grab the bed with my left hand and arm and try to drag myself up onto the foot of the bed, just to show her that everything was fine. I could tell I needed to get myself up in order to reassure her. After I get my knees under me, I'm somewhat successful in pulling myself up on the foot of the bed. I get my upper half part way up. I turn my head in such a fashion that I can mostly hold my face up off the bed. I start telling her, "Don't call 9-1-1.. There's really nothing wrong... Don't call !! I'm okay!! Really!! Everything is fine!!"

The trouble was, I wasn't really saying anything. I was garbling something that was totally meaningless to anyone that might have been listening to me. Saliva was running down my chin and I was trying to get my eyes to focus. My face was making contortions. I was continually trying to lift my head up off the bed in such a manner that she'd be able to see for herself that I was okay. Why wouldn't she listen to me??? Oh, no.. She was calling for an ambulance, ANYWAY. I guess I can't stop her. Well, bummer!! Doesn't she know that calling an ambulance is a big deal?? It's probably expensive, too. Well, she actually went and did it. I hope she's satisfied. I don't know who she's going to get to ride in the ambulance. She's probably thinking it'll be me.

With Sheryl's help, I finally get to where I'm kind of sitting on the foot of the bed. I seemed to be recovering just a bit of the usage of my right leg. My right hand and arm were still totally dead and useless, just like they didn't even exist, or were just pieces of flesh hanging from my shoulder.

(to be continued....)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

{Gluten-Free} Kitchen Creativity

I love the way my oldest jumps in to try cooking something new.  She really likes to be creative in the kitchen.  It's a good thing since cooking without gluten can be tricky.  I try to encourage her independence and skill so that she'll be prepared to fix her own food in a "gluten-ous" world when she is an adult.

She made some chicken fingers (recipe was on the back of the Gluten Free Bisquick box) for us for dinner that we had with mashed potatoes and corn.  It took her some time, but I think if she makes it a few more times it'll be a great dinner addition for us.  

For convenience with only one diagnosed with Celiac and the rest of us eating "normally" we try to just have all our dinners gluten free.  The rest of the day we eat our own breads and cereals and snacks, but we like to have the same thing in our evening time together.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Hello to the Weekend

This and a movie made a great start to a cool winter weekend.

Do you have any weekend traditions?

Weekend Warmth

It's another weekend, and while my projects are brewing here in my head...but not yet done, I need inspiration from yours!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The "Must-Have" house building list

I'm not always a list writer.  But when I'm not, I'm just a list typer. Yeah.  Lists are good.

Lists turned out to kinda save us when we opted out of continuing to build a messed up home, and needed to find somewhere to hang our hat...and fast!

Thankfully our ill-fated attempt at building had prompted many and varied arguments productive discussions on what exactly are dreams/hopes/needs/wants in a house are.  We had all kinds of ideas of things that might be neat.  Not only that the builder had things he thought were neat :) and they thought getting us to pay more for any little neat thing was neat, too.  Because of this we ended up having meetings that went hours and hours with few decisions made or settled on.

We eventually came to the conclusion that we had only a few "must-have's" and much more "it might be nice's."  So we let the price go way up for the must-have's and were in the process of stressing over whether or not to make the price insane based on what might be nice.  Thankfully, I guess, we never had to really make all those decisions, but when it all came undone we were left with a pretty clear picture, as a couple, of what we were looking for in a home.

I may share our list of of both the must-have's and the want's just for funsies, sometime, but first today I thought it might be fun to share what our #1 must-have was:

A biggggggggg garage.  The house we had settled on building was tiny but the garage was slated to be huge (with plumbing and heating, no less ;).  We have lots of reasons this is important, but I think the number 1 was because our hobbies and passions involve building things, and while we are content to live in a little space and not own much stuff, we can't live in a world without creativity.  3 car garages are not essential to most people's creativity, but for us it was.  

In fact, not just the size but all kinds of functions of the garage have been really important for us in this house.  For any of you who are also big fans of the garage I wanted to point out the pretties at Garaga's garage doors.  

When Casey and I look at houses on walks or drives, I'm always noticing garage details, and I think getting doors like this would be so pretty.  I really love this one, especially with the stone.  The colors are really us.  In fact they look like the combo we are planning for our fireplace.

Anyway, I'll be back with more posts about our "must-have's" but for now....when you look at homes for the near or distant future, what is the #1 "must-have" on your list?