Charles, my Pride and Joy, in FL at Sunrise

Charles, my Pride and Joy, in FL at Sunrise

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Beliefs.....

This writing is prompted by the TV movie that just premiered on Lifetime called Prayers for Bobby. It is about the struggles of a homosexual teen. I am not writing this about sexuality. This is about who we are and the journey of life. I was born to a very loving mother. She has always accepted me at face value. She may not have liked things I did at different points in my life but I always felt loved. I can not imagine how it must feel to have your own mother face you and disclaim you as her child. What that must do to the soul is wrenching to think about. This movie makes one face that….from both sides. This may be a winding post. I have many trains of thought. Please read this with the understanding that I am judging nobody.

The movie chronicles Bobbys' teenage home life. The “godly” son was embraced without judgment. Bobby, the gay son, was not. He was constantly criticized for who he was. His mother sent him to a psychiatrist to be “cured”. She put Post It notes of different bible verses denouncing homosexuality on his bathroom mirror. He was eventually told by his own mother that if he “chose” to be gay that he was not her son. She claimed to be a religious woman.

As a young woman, I was part of a Christian church that believed that homosexuality was a sin before god. I came to question that belief. It wasn’t an overnight change. It was slow. As I read more and explored spirituality. As I learned that the bible was written and interpreted by man. Different versions…different languages…more interpretations. Writings, particularly those by women, were excluded from most mainstream texts. Does God think less of woman? I don’t think so. Some of Christs closest companions and confidants were women. How is one version of the bible to be supreme over others. Questions…….

Then, what of all the other religions. I see many similarities among various different religions. Love being the center piece of most. If we only opened our eyes to these similarities, I think we would love more and hate less.

How does a person who claims to be religious judge others? Isn’t one of the main components of most religions to “love others as you love yourself”. In this show the mother certainly did not do that…until her son died. Her church and parts of the community were guilty of this two faced love also. How sad.

When I began to realize that this was what was happening in my church, I was confused. The deepest part of me knew that there was more to true spirituality. Don’t get me wrong. I had many wonderful friends in the church. My pastor and his wife were very supportive of the people. Without them, I am not sure I would have survived the loss of my husband when Charles was an infant. This deepened my confusion…..

Why is it that we hate instead of loving unconditionally? We don’t have to agree with everything….but one shouldn’t hate. Isn’t that a key religious principle?

This is not necessarily meant to be a dialogue but feel free to comment if you like. This is just me thinking out loud….in my own journal. Trying to understand the journey. I continue to search for truths. To evolve spiritually. To not be stagnant. To live. To enjoy each day I have. Oddly, this has been the blessing of PH in my life. It confronted me with my own mortality in a way I had not experienced before. My life of 20 or so years ago now seems like a whole other person. I would not trade that time though because it helped make me who I am now…and I like this person.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Whew.....what a week!

Back to work I went last Monday and man did we work! I ate lunch at my desk, working, every day but one. I left late each day. Thursday was the latest..1830 something. I had to get all the pharmacy calls, etc done because I was off on Friday. Doc was there until about the same time also.

The memories of how long it takes to recup from bed rest had faded since the last time. I arrived home from my TX trip late on January 3rd. I went to work the next day but was sent home early. Since then I had been on bed rest most of the time until the 12th. Needless to say, the bed was my friend by default each day after work last week. One day, I think it was Wednesday, I even fell asleep shortly after getting home. I had put on my lounge clothes, laid down in bed with 3 pillows propping me up and a pillow to prop my feet on. I then opened my laptop. The next thing I knew, my cell phone was ringing at 1930. I was still “in position” with my laptop on my lap. Oh my!! I was so groggy and not up to talking. I just crawled under the covers and slept until my alarm sounded the next morning.

I was lucky that my legs had regained some strength by Friday because I had a treadmill stress test to do. It went as well as I could expect. I had my usual SOB (shortness of breath) and chest pain but I finished the test. I will see what the report says when I get to the office tomorrow. Nobody called about it over the weekend so I suppose that is good. It was done because of that tachycardia (fast heart rate) I had on my TX vacation. I sure hope my SVT isn’t recurring…..

Gina, our secretary came in last Monday but really shouldn’t have. She had an MRI done on Sunday, January 11th. Unfortunately her left knee is messed up. Doc and I finally got her to leave by early afternoon. I made an appointment with an ortho doc for the next day…that took some looking around and begging! She was out the rest of the week. She really should be out at least another week but is insisting on coming back. We will see……

On a better note, yesterday was a very good day. We had our St Louis PH Support Group Meeting. The speaker was Dr. Joseph Ojile, Founder and Director of the Clayton Sleep Institute. He is a very good speaker. It was very educational and interactive. We had 2 new people with PH there. One found out in November 2007 that she had elevated pressures on echo. She is still in what I call the “deer in the headlights” phase. She also found out that an echo she had last year said the same thing and she wasn’t even told! Her current primary care doctor doesn’t seem to think it needs to be investigated further. I tell myself that I wouldn’t wish this disease on anyone but ya know what?? Maybe if those docs got it, things would change! I know, I shouldn’t think like that….I’m working on it. I had one of those docs in the beginning. Yes, he was fired….but my care was delayed also. Anyway, we exchanged emails. I hope she continues to participate in the meetings. I had waited for this speaker since I found out he agreed and it was worth the wait.

OH, Charles (my 20 year old son) went with me and he listened for most of it. We made a whole day out of it. He drove there and back. After the meeting, we went to the St Louis Science Center (SLSC) to see an OmniMax movie. It is one of those 3 story high screens with surround sound and a 3D screen. We saw Dinosaurs Alive! It was awesome. We wanted to see the new one, Grand Canyon, but it was only on the 2nd day and was sold out. Next time…. I have always been fascinated by dinosaurs. The movie was well made. Go see it if you get a chance. At the SLSC, they have a handicapped entrance on the 3rd floor where you don‘t have to deal with stairs. The main entrance is on the 2nd floor and there are too many stairs for me to manage without getting extremely SOB. I have finally mentally adjusted to the fact that for the foreseeable future, I will go to the 3rd floor. Before going in, I chatted for about 5 minutes with a nice lady who was using a cane. She was not normally disabled but had injured her ankle. Charles and I pick the same seats each time. There a 5 that are right over the projection equipment. They are the only ones with nobody right in front of you. There is a small ledge with a short railing. Just low enough that you can prop your feet on it. Oh Yeah! Comfy. The lady and her friend came in after we did. We were already seated. I called over to her and said “ Wouldn’t you like to prop you foot up?” Enough said…she was over in a flash. Well, as much of one as you can with a cane. We all had a good time.

After that, we went to Sams Club to restock my freezer and pantry. They were doing tastings. Charles liked the salmon patties so I got some of them. I make mine when I have the urge but he isn’t big into cooking these days. So, in order for him to eat healthier, I bought them. He is paying for his “keep” now so make it a healthy one, right? We were famished after shopping so we stopped at Panera on the way home. I wanted to stop at IHOP for pancakes but we opted for a healthier choice. I love the Mediterranean Veggie sandwich at Panera. I change it up a bit though. No tomatoes (darn it, I don’t tolerate them anymore), extra cilantro hummus and on a cibatta roll inside of tomato basil. Quite yummy. Then we headed home. Charles was quite talkative all day. We shared many things and I really got to know the man that my boy is. It was a wonderful day!

Today…..not doing a thing except calling people, updating yáll and watching football. I like this weekend. OK, this pretty much brings us up to date. Off I go to watch more football.
Yáll take care, ali

Monday, January 12, 2009

Survey Says....


Its a winner.....Raisin Oatmeal Bread! I made this yesterday. Yes, one of the loaves is huge. I could only find one of my regular loaf pans....so I used an 8x8 one also. They got finished about 2130 hours so I just covered it up on the counter overnight. This morning I uncovered it and just marveled at the beauty. I then cut a piece off the small loaf to have for breakfast with a piece of jalepano jack cheese. It was yummy!
I'm wiped from work today so that's all I've got tonight.
take care, ali

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I love salads!




Today I fixed a fabulous salad. Actually I had it yesterday also. I decided to share it with you today. Here is what I put in it….
Romaine lettuce
Gala apple
Avocado
Roasted Piquillo pepper (like regular red ones but better)
Pecans
Unsweetened Dried Cranberries
Dressing:
Approximately equal parts of
Coarse Horseradish Mustard
Lime Juice
Honey
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Wisk together and drizzle on!
Boy was it good….probably do it again tomorrow. Modified I’m sure. Most of my recipes evolve. Yesterday, the salad had a small amount of shredded cheese on it and no apple.
You know what, I am feeling better today. I wouldn’t qualify it as good yet but definitely better. I think the sunshine yesterday helped. It was about 60. I sat outside on my patio swing and just soaked up the sun. Today is cold, blustery and overcast outside. I think today is a good day to cook. Soooo, what should I make? Bread sounds good. I make a killer french bread but am not in the mood for that. Ohhhh, I know, raisin bread. Now doesn’t that sound like it will be yummy for breakfast tomorrow?? Melt a piece of jalepano jack cheese over it. Yum!
I want to cook something else also but I don’t know what yet. When I feel OK, I like to cook and freeze stuff for workdays. I never know when I get home from work if I will be up to cooking. The year before last I bought myself a real treat ~ a deep freezer. I had taken a trip to TX to visit family and decided to buy a large amount of Ahi Tuna. I love fresh tuna but it costs about 2-3 times as much in my area of MO as it does in Houston, TX. So, I bought 6 months worth…a good chunk. Literally! My sister and I took it back to her house and I cut it into serving sizes. We then froze it and I used dry ice to get it back home. I bought the freezer when I got home. Merry Christmas to meeeeee! I should have gotten a deep freezer long ago. I love it. Now, my trips to Sams Club save me even more. The closest Sams to me is in St Louis ~ 100 miles away. I am currently on a smoothie kick also. I have large bags of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and cherries in the freezer. Many work mornings, I will make one. Hey, here is another “recipe” for you. Take about 5 large frozen strawberries and throw them in a blender. Pour in 6 ounces of pineapple juice and blend until almost smooth (I like small chunks). Spoon in 8 ounces of good quality plain yogurt. Add some stevia if you want it sweeter. Blend and enjoy!
Off to bake I go. Take care, ali

Thursday, January 8, 2009

¿Qué pasa?

I am slowly starting to feel better. It is still very hard for me to …what is the word I am hunting for….comprehend how my body reacts to stresses and illnesses. Even supposedly good stressors. I was really sick on vacation. I suppose I should be grateful I am getting better and did manage to be able to drive myself home. I’ll work on that attitude.
I still think something happened during my violent coughing episode because the heart rate remains higher than my normal pre-cough. Chest pains are also more frequent. So, the plan. I did call my doc yesterday as scheduled to update her. She feels the best course is to kick the sinus/respiratory infection and then see how the heart rate is. I agree. She suggested I be off until at least Friday and maybe Monday for good measure. She is off on Friday. I figured I could probably work Friday if I was not seeing patients. Just sitting at the desk doing pharmacy calls, procedure pre-auths, referrals, etc. The work in a family practice is just immense. I called Jan, our clinic supervisor. She is at the Rolla location of the multi-physician/multi-location practice. She is new but I really like her. She seems to be detail/task oriented and efficient. She appears to truly care about our wellbeing. She said I could rest up and return on Monday. I am anxious to return because I love what I do. I can respect the return date though. I know it is best. There goes a good chunk of my regular leave time. I hope nothing major happens anytime soon. At our hospital, we get a specific number of regular leave hours per pay period (PDO) based on rank and years of service. We also get a lesser amount of “sustained sick leave” (SSL) each pay period. This can be used if out of work on FMLA. This pot remains untouched unless you are out for 3 consecutive days or more and can be carried over to the next year. That pot has gone relatively untouched the last year. Yay! It isn’t enough to get me thru a year like 2004-2005 though. So, say a prayer for me.
Oh, rrrrrrttttt (artificial break sound) - my estimated PAP on echo done yesterday was STABLE. Yipeeeeee ~~~~ High five! Still elevated pressures but not worse. Did I say Yipeeeee? Alrighty folks, time to do something different.
Take care, ali

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

PeiWei

Don't we look happy?! Edna, Marcia and I meet at retaurant called PeiWei in Dallas. Marcia had the Chicken Pad Thai. I had the Beef Pad Thai. Edna had Mongollian Chicken. It was all good and way to much to eat at one sitting. I had part of the rest of mine for lunch on the way home the next day. Equally good. I like cold thai noodle dishes. Yes mom, as you already know I still eat funny alot. Oh, and thank you for the Christmas basket. The sauces are great. And the maple butter...to die for! This is where I sing ahhhHHHHhhh ~~~

Meeting of PHriends


Ali and Marcia wearing bracelets made by Diane. Edna gave me mine. PHriends are priceless! (click the pic for a full size look)

The rest of....the rest of the story

Back to Dallas….On the way up, I contemplated and changed my mind many times about going straight to the ER or to Edna’s house. I decided to stop short of the turn off to her place to use the bathroom. The purpose was actually to test my heart rate. Just going to the bathroom and back to the Vue sent me to 130 (my normal is about 70 when up and about). Well crap. OK, off to the ER I go. Boy was it not easy to get to…even with mapped directions. There was construction galore and re-routing of traffic. I stopped and asked a security guard how to get to the ER. He asked “are you meeting someone?” I told him no it was for me. His eyeballs got real big, he asked are you sure you are ok and proceeded to click the button on his shirt collar box thingy to call for an escort. I told him I was a nurse, this wasn’t my first go round and knew I was OK to drive myself. That seemed to relax him…a little. His directions were actually good…should have followed them instead of the other security guards that showed up about that time….but they both seemed to like the 2nd way also. I decided to call Edna. She helped me get where I needed to go.
So, parking….why is it that ER’s have such small parking lots?? Just cause you hope it isn’t busy or don’t always need the space doesn’t make it so. And this isn’t a place to skimp on space. It also isn’t a place to put all of the parking on a hill - with the ER at the top. By the time I got into the ER, I was very visibly huffing and puffing. Don’t know what I looked like but one lady kept her eye on me like a momma hawk. I hate when ER’s don’t have a live person to greet you. This one put the triage nurse behind plate glass. There was a help button but the nurse should not have to be the first point of contact…he was already busy. I tried to fill out the little why are you here slip but didn’t see what to do with it. The nice gentleman sitting next to the window pointed out the drop-box….ding, right in front of me. I then plopped in the chair right beside him with as polite an excuse me as I could. He said he didn’t mind. There were plenty of other chairs. I just couldn’t walk to them. The chest pain was constant at this point. The nurse came out in probably 5 minutes or so and asked why I was there…pointing out that I left that off the little sheet. I told him chest pain/sob and I am a cardiac patient. He took me back very shortly (at 1545) and began the work-up. After med list, history, etc., he did an EKG. He promptly excused himself to “go show it to the doctor” . After he came back, he said there were no rooms to put me in and had me sit in a chair in the hallway directly across from his room where he could see me. I could see several empty cots along the walls. I wouldn't have cared where I was as long as I could have been horizontal. Well, except maybe the floor. This chair is where Edna found me. I was sooo glad to see her. I needed the moral support. It took another , ohhhh, hour to get a room with a stretcher I could lie down on. Nothing else was done until then….IV access, labs, CXR….nothing. It was getting to be close to 2000 hours and no doc had been in so I called to speak to the nurse (again). I asked what “the doctors ETA might be”. He said he would check and left. This was a nurse post-shift change. No physical assessment done yet or pain questions asked. Guess I didn’t look as bad as I felt. The doctor came in shortly thereafter. He walked in very abruptly, no introduction, clicked the TV off and proceeded to ask questions. I asked the nurse afterwards what his name was....Dr. Kemenick. I began to elaborate on one of the first questions. He held up his hand, palm out toward me and stated “that is not what I asked you”. He made it very clear several more times that he wanted yes or no answer…that’s all. He asked specific dates of when last tests where done and I could only think of “approximately 9 months ago” or those type responses. Geesh, I have had so many tests done since 2004. How can I possibly remember specific dates. He would respond by saying “So, that is March of 2008 then”. I finally just started saying “I have my medical record in the car if you need to know specific dates. Would you like my friend to get it?”. He declined. When he finished his didactic inquisition, he as abruptly got up, stated he was going to admit me and left. I looked at my friend Edna. I think we both looked stunned. I think one thing that took me back the most was when he asked "so did your PH go away". Hmmmm, I think he needs some basic education on pulmonary hypertension. A friend back home told me maybe he should go back and take the course on bedside manner again. I told her he needed to take one to begin with because obviously it was a foreign language to him. My anger started to rise within me at this point. Just as the BP monitor went on. I tried to relax but it said 165/100 when it finished. Much higher than my usual 90/50 at rest when not ill. I decide that doc and I needed to have a give and take conversation before I would agree to be admitted and called for the nurse. The doc came back in and I asked him if I would be able to have an echo and see the pulmonary hypertension specialist. He stated the echo would not be done until 01-02-09 (mind you, it was currently 12-31-08) and you probably won’t see a specialist until at least tomorrow. He said they wanted to “keep an eye on me (on telemetry)”. I told him that I knew my diagnosis and body very well and that “just being keep an eye on for 2 days with nothing else pertinent being done was a waste of everybody’s time and money”. He did not appear to appreciate that I had an educated opinion. I told him I knew when to seek ER care and obviously this had been almost a waste of my time. I told him I would be leaving and would seek care closer to Edna’s house (45 minutes away) if need be. He insisted I sign out AMA. I signed but also put notes on that sheet about why I was leaving. The nurse gave me copies of my testing and the notes that were ready to take.
OK, more to the story. When I was reviewing the results (after leaving...should have looked before leaving...but then we should be able to trust in a doctor's care, right?), I noticed that my potassium was 5.1 (very slightly above normal) and the CBC specimen was hemolyzed. The doctor told me the labs were “normal”. He did not redraw the CBC like he should have. This is important to know on someone taking diuretics and having chest pain. He also told me the EKG was normal but the auto printout said abnormal. No wonder the nurse went running. The doctor knew I was a nurse before he finished his interrogation and should have explained it to me. When I saw my primary physician this past Monday, she explained why to me. We decided we should just vacation together next time :)

I was very glad to get to Edna’s house. I thought for sure I would miss the New Years Eve party at her sister’s house. I was feeling pretty puny but really wanted to go. So off we went. She has portable O2 that we took. I ended up needing it on and off. Should have been all on but I had not had to use O2 in front of people I don’t know at a party before. Can’t we be so vain sometimes?! I kept taking it off and realizing I shouldn’t. I sat most of the time....not something I am used to. I made it thru the whole party and did have a good time. She has such a delightful family. I felt privileged to be invited. I made it thru to the midnight Hooray. Boy, did I sleep in the next day…
We had a nice visit until it was time for me to head home last Saturday. Saturday was a long day. Fortunately the weather was beautiful. No wind, rain ~ clear skies, just beautiful. I still had to use nitro and low flow O2 much of the time to keep my sat up to feel good enough to drive the 590 miles. Yes, I made it all the way. It was work though. I only brought in the necessities that night. All of my stuff is out of the Vue now but not all put away. I did nothing much except computer reading and blog updating on Sunday (as you can well tell).
I tried to work Monday. Hmmmff, not the best idea. We were very busy. The doc saw me late morning (by request) and promptly ordered me home until at least Wednesday. She was floored by my ER visit. She thinks my sinus infection is a nasty resistant thing going around right now. She changed me to a new antibiotic and ordered strict rest along with a few other things. I updated her today and she said to keep doing what I am doing and check back with her tomorrow, by phone, not in person (unless necessary to see her as a client). Not a problem, I still feel pretty crappy. I have an echo tomorrow so we will see what it says. So, rest, drink hot tea, snort saline spray, computer stuff, and repeat. I think I’m done here for the time.
Yáll take care, ali

Monday, January 5, 2009

The rest of the story.....

So, where did I leave off at yesterday...was at my sister's house. On the 29th she went back to work. She goes in really early so is off by about noon. Hmmm, this is where I should have posted that Seabrook pic. Oh well. I was starting to feel better so we ventured out of the house on a drive. First we had sushi. I decided to have mine "cooked"( in lime juice) so as not to stress my comprimised immune system. I'll have to make up for that when I am completely well and do totally sashimi. Don't you just want to dance when you here that word? Sashimi...shasimi.... It was yummy anyway.

Then we went for the drive to Seabrook and Kemah. I knew my phriend Jen was right down the road. But she was also sick now and we couldn't chance sharing germs. Darn it!!! The rest of the evening was spent relaxing and visiting.

The next day, I was still not feeling well enough to travel and stayed with my brother. I knew my sister wanted me to stay with her but she had to work and my brother didn't. She also has 2 cats and I am allergic to the cute little furballs. I do miss my kitties. I did stop by the bakery she works at before heading to Ross' house. That was nice.

Poor Ann, my sister-in-law, had a hectic day. It started by needing to take her sick Grandbaby to the doc. Her daughter Tanya, does not have transporatation so she helps her. That took until the early afternoon. She called a few times to keep me updated and apologize. I told her that was OK because I was amusing myself at Kohls :) Shop, rest, shop, rest. You know the drill. I have such a hard time finding stuff that fits but this was a successful trip. I found 3 nice sweaters and a few lovely intimates. You'll see the pink cashmere sweater in an upcoming pic. I did have to rest alot during this trip. Was a good thing I had extra time!

Back at Ann and Ross house, we spent the evening relaxing. Ann served us her very delicious Swedish Meatballs and a wonderful salad of greens, avocado, mandarin oranges, slivered almonds and a few other things I do not recall right now. Oh, and garlic bread. Yummmmm.

This is "the rest of the story" from my other sick post. Everything was hunky dorey until 1930 hours when I had a violent coughing episode. Immediately afterwards, I had a sudden onset of shortness of breath and dizziness. I went to lay down and was having palpitations. Whip out the pulse oximeter and OMG, it said 150! Slip it on another finger.... oh crap, says the same thing. Feel my carotid pulse. Hmmmfffp, it's accurate. OK, so, what to do. Ahha, Valsalva (push down real hard like trying to have/stop a bowel movement all at the same time). It worked...down to 100...for a while. I called Ann about now and asked her if she could hook up my O2. I hadn't plugged her (the machine) in since getting back to their house. Ann used to be a private caregiver. With this "freak out/stay in control" look she did it in no time flat. Thanks Sis!! Check pulse...Back up to 150's. Valsalva again...4 or 5 times. Also was using the nitro pretty liberally. I was at the point of going to the ER when she finally settled down. Thank goodness. I was able to rejoin them in the livingroom and we had a nice visit. The next morning was my leave date. We had planned to have a Mexican food breakfast before I left but I just wasn't up to it. I knew I needed to see a doctor. They were heading out of town as well. I decided to make it up to Dallas where my friend Edna lives. It took using the O2 and nitro to get there but I did. I had already googled directions to UT Southwestern at Dallas. There is a PH Center there and I figured I would have topnotch care. OK, I need a break so I am going to have to leave you hanging here...sorry. It gets even longer...I'll fill you in later.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

PHriends sharing


OK, so I said this was going to be chronolgical. Well, I digress....unless we are going by the date I took the pic. Edna had this bracelet made for me by Diane. Thanks to both of you. I love it!!!

Satisfied


This is Mike, my brother-in-law with one of their "children". Don't they look happy?

Cheesecake!


Here is my sister and her awesome Red, White and Blue Cheescake. It is filled with blueberries and topped with strawberries. Yes, homemade! If any Houstonians want some really good cheesecake I can hook ya up:) It was served after an equally fabulous dinner. It sure is nice to have such good cooks in the family.

Time for a sad pic


This is a picture from Seabrook, TX post Hurricane. It is hard to tell what it is unless you know the area. What you DON'T see is all of the fish houses and resturants that used to be on this point. If you look towards the back, you now see the water of the gulf. On the right front is Pappadeaux's Resturant, the only one partially standing. My sister used to go eat there alot with my birthdad's parents. Before the chainlink fence was the one remaining fishhouse. It is a concrete building that is still being repaired. They are operating out of trailers for now. I got fabulous ahi tuna from them on my last visit. I wanted to this time but was not up to it. This was the first day I had ventured on an outing after arriving in TX. I came down with nasal congestion on Christmas Eve morning. By the morning after Christmas, I was pretty miserable. Coughing and blowing out yellow, having trouble breathing, blah, blah, blah. I made a trip to the local ER and confirmed what I already knew. A touch of pneumonia in the left lower lung and my 3rd sinus infection of the winter. I had gotten a Zpak from my MO doc to take with me but I wanted to be sure I was doing the right thing because I got sick faster than usual. Things have gotten better but this story does not stop here. I will finish it after posting picks back at my sisters' house. Let's keep this chronological:)

Still catching up...


This isn't the best pic...don't know what my camera was thinking. But there is a great story behind it. My mom, dad, brother and sister-in-law were at my sister and brother-in-laws house for dinner. (I stayed several days at this point). The night before, after the folks had gone home. Somehow, we kids decided to look-up ""Old folk party games" as a joke. I know....bad....very bad. This pic is after Mom read some of what we downloaded. Priceless, huh? (it was funny wasn't it Mom?) That look on Ann's face was "I didn't have anything to do with this".
Here was a list we gave them:
TOP 10 OLD FOLKS' PARTY GAMES
* * * * * * * * * *
10. Musical Recliners
9. Spin the Bottle of Mylanta
8. Hide and Go Pee
7. Simon Says Something Incoherent
6. Doc, Doc Goose
5. Red Rover, Red Rover, the Nurse Says Bend Over
4. Kick the Bucket
3. 20 Questions Shouted into your Good Ear
2. Pin the Toupee on the Bald Guy
1. Sag, You're It
If only I weren't laughing for a different reason also. They are more active than me! Love ya folks!!!
Keep reading...there's much more:)

Thanks babe!


He got what he wanted from his sweetie. Doesn't he look happy?!

Hmmm, next pic


Ann and Ross sorting thru the unopened presents AFTER the opening on Christmas Eve and wave number one on Christmas Day. Wheh!

Back to Christmas Eve


I should have posted this pic before. Captain is in the forefront opening his present. It is an outdoor firepit that was destroyed when the Hurricane overran the motel he runs in Galveston. He was so happy.

While you are looking...look behind him. See all those presents stacked up by the tree. Yes, the left side is more than halfway up the wall. Talk about LOTS of present opening. Good times!!!

Christmas Day

  • Here are the second bunch to come over on Christmas Day. Aren't they cute! Click for a closer look. The first set arrived at 1000 before heading off to another party. I hadn't been up long then and didn't get pics of them. It was such fun to watch little people open presents. OK, keep reading, I'm catching up.....

Christmas Eve


My brother Ross opening his basket from me. Ann, my sister (in-law) behind him. Click on the pic for a better image.

I'm Home...

I arrived back home from my TX trip last night. I didn't want to leave my family and friends but it is good to be home. This was my first Christmas away from my son. It was very good to see him again! I know he is a young man but he will always be my boy.

So much has happened in the last 2 weeks....where to begin?? OK, my last post with any substance was on December 20th. I picked Edna up as scheduled on the 21st in St Louis. It was about 5 degrees when she stepped off the plane. That is real temp not wind chill. With that it was something like 10-15 below. Brrrrrrr. The drive back to my place was a 110 mile drive from the airport in north St Louis. When we arrived in Rolla, we drove the "long" way so that I could show her the town. This took maybe half an hour, including slowing down to look at the architecture. There are some nice Old World influences here. The next day was Monday and unfortunantely I had to work. That night we had "Christmas" dinner with Charles. I fixed his favorite, Cornish Hens. I fixed a Bernaise sauce also. It went really well with the hens. We had broccoli, brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes to go with it. Nice meal!

The next day we headed out for Fort Worth, TX. It was a very hard drive. Lots of wind, some rain and fog for the last part. We ended up stopping about 100 miles short of Edna's house. I was so tired. We had leftovers from the last night's dinner. I don't think I was awake much longer after that. We had breakfast at Edna's house the next morning. Eggs, pancakes and fresh fruit. Oh, and of course, coffee. I left around noon to head down to the Houston area. If I ever decide to leave the Fort Worth-Dallas area at noon, on a weekday, on Christmas Eve again ~~ somebody just slap me! It took an extra hour to get to Pasadena where my brother lives.

I settled in there a bit and then my mom and dad came over. We exchanged our presents on the Eve. My brother has a large family - 4 children and 12 or 13 grandchildren. Can't remember exactly how many :) So we figured there would be plenty of present giving tomorrow to keep us entertained. It was so good to see them again. I have been blessed this year to see them all more than usual.

OK, time for a pic....