Friday, September 30, 2011

Plans for the weekend

Very interesting that my young co-workers do not share my feelings about the child safety cones as noted in yesterday's post.  They just think I'm a grumpy old woman!

Ron and I have a busy weekend ahead.  We are attending a wedding on Saturday.  The wedding starts at 2:00 p.m. and we don't expect to get home until after 11:00 p.m.  That's a very long day for us but the bride is the daughter of my best friend and the groom is one of my favorite co-workers.  I'm going to try and remember to take my camera.  

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Grouchy old lady? Maybe.

I get really frustrated these days when I'm driving down a neighborhood and suddenly in the middle of the road is one of these.....                 
There are children everywhere and playing near the street if not in it.  I can't help but wonder "What are the parents thinking?"  I may be old but I wasn't allowed to play in or near the street as a kid.  That's what backyards were for.  I didn't allow my children to play near the street either.  It isn't the responsibility of the public to keep my kids's MY responsibility! 

  This little guy isn't going to do it! 

I did some research on this and this is what I found.  There are a lot of towns and cities that ordinances against using these traffic signs.

The signs do not work. Traffic studies have shown that they do not slow drivers or heighten attention to children in the area. Instead, parents and children become less cautious, which could cause accidents and near misses to increase.
Signs and cones are confusing and distracting to motorists.
If an unauthorized sign and cone caused a motorist to have an accident, this could lead to liability issues for those who placed the signs and/or cones in the street.
Most accidents involving children are not caused by driver behavior but by the unsafe actions of the children. Because of this, we have found that focusing on educating children and parents is substantially more effective at preventing accidents than focusing on driver behavior.
If children are allowed to play on a quiet neighborhood street, they may feel that it is safe for them to play on any street, even though other streets may have much more traffic traveling at higher speeds.
I have tried to back out of my brother's driveway to find myself blocked in by primary colored cones..........and 20 kids playing in the street.  OK...exageration but at least 5 kids.  It really does irritate me!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hell hath no fury like a woman who just had her jewelry stolen

A former co-worker was the victim of a robbery yesterday.  She had worked as the receptionist at our hospital for more than 20 years before her retirement a few years ago.  She is now in her late 60's and yesterday she interrupted a burglary in progress at her home when she returned from grocery shopping.  She stepped into her house and came face-to-face with a 23 year old man robbing her of her jewelry.  She looked at him and said, "You fool" and then was shot by the intruder with her own gun.  She was hit in the shoulder and managed to get to her neighbor's house after the intruder ran out with her jewelry in hand.  I saw the news report on tv last night.  The news reporter ended the story by saying the robber was apprehended about an hour later with the victim's "costume jewelry".  I had to get tickled knowing the victim as I do.  She will probably sue the TV station for telling the world it was "costume" jewelry. 

On a more serious note.....she was very lucky he didn't kill her.  This is exactly why I do not have guns in my house.  I refuse to furnish someone with a weapon to kill me with.  I think people forget that the "bad guys" have the element of surprise on their side.  Unless you are armed 24/7 and sitting in front of the door waiting for an intruder your guns probably won't be of much help to you.  This particular intruder was a scrawny looking fella who crawled in through the doggie door. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

A House Divided

I think I've mentioned in the past that Ron and I are on opposite sides of the fence politically.  Sometimes it can be very tricky to remain respectful of our differences of opinion.  I admit that it is probably harder for me to remain respectful than it is for him.  I can't help it....when I hear something that sounds just plain stupid I can't seem to hide my shock and ahh.  This leads to the comment "Liberals just think they are superior".   I've never thought I was superior..........just smarter.  Maybe that is thinking I'm superior.   I just struggle with wondering why people continue to vote against themselves.  Why do they want to continue making the rich, richer and the poor, poorer including themselves?  

A very conservative co-worker constantly talks about the horror of socialized medicine.  Now, as a state employee his health insurance is paid 100%....doesn't cost him anything.  Yet, he only goes to the Veteran's Hospital for medical care.  Isn't that the biggest form of socialized medicine?  I asked him once why he goes there and he answered, "Because it is free, I don't have to pay any co-pays".  My question was "Well then why don't you want the same option for the rest of us?" 

Why is it that conservatives talk about those free loading people who want everything for free but are the first ones to take advantage of any program that will save them money.  Ron is against socialized medicine but when his own daughter and her family were unable to afford health insurance he sure didn't tell her to turn down the free care provided by the state.  Just doesn't make sense to me.  Either you are for it or against it.......which is it?

I just hate election time.......I can't wait to be bombarded by all my conservative friends with all the crazy emails and wild rants and accusations.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I'm in the process of planning my weekend.  Ron and I have been planning to have a yard sale the first of October.  Everytime I've had one I swore it was the last.  But then more stuff accumulates and I start thinking it's time to do it again.  Ron enjoys meeting the people who come looking for bargains but then he isn't the one that does most of the work preparing the sale.  My biggest issue is always finding enough tables to put everything on.  I don't want to purchase another table because then I'd be working to pay for the table.  Oh well,  Guess I need to see it as just a way to clean  house.

OU plays Missouri tomorrow night so I know where my husband will be.  Mike will not be staying up to watch the game this week.  I can't let him get off his routine because it will throw him into a tiz.  He is just getting over Pink Eye and is doing pretty good right now.  I want to keep it that way!

So.....alls good in Oklahoma.  The weather is great and we've had a little rain so no complaints here.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


The summer of 1996 did not start out to be a stellar summer for my daughter Julie. Her twin sister had just graduated and moved out of their apartment but Julie still had one class to complete before she was “officially” a graduate. Most of her friends had also graduated and moved on to begin their careers. The campus was not bustling with the usual frenzy of students and it looked like it was going to be a long, boring summer.

She lived in a three-story apartment complex just at the base of the campus. Her apartment was on the top floor and though the view was great she was a little tired of the daily climb. She had been treading up those three flights of stairs for four years and though the shapely curve of her legs was proof that exercise keeps you trim she was ready to live on the ground floor.

Living on the top floor had some advantages. Since the apartment complex was surrounded by a forest of huge trees it was like living in a tree house. Julie loved to open all the windows so the air could flow through the apartment. Her front door opened to a private landing so she would regularly leave the front door open to enhance the breeze. With the windows and door open she would often sit on the floor and work on her lessons.

One day she was sitting on the floor studying when she looked up to see a dog sitting in front of her door. 
It was a very pretty Pembrooke Corgi. She looked to be about a year old and was just sitting there staring in at Julie. Julie couldn’t imagine how her short legs had managed to get her up the three flights of stairs to her apartment but she was a welcomed guest.

Julie, being a dog lover, tried to approach her but she quickly exited back down the long flight of stairs and was gone.

Every day Julie watched for the dog and usually about 3:00 in the afternoon she would look up to see her staring in the front door.  Julie started leaving dog treats and a bowl of water just outside her door.  Day after day the dog got a little braver until one day she ventured over the threshold into Julie's apartment. Julie checked her for a tag and found none.  The little girl was friendly but still a bit cautious.  However, every day after class Julie would find her waiting outside her apartment door.

Julie began calling the little dog D O G prounounced
"Dee O Gee".  She was fast becoming Julie's new summer companion although it was still a mystery where she lived.  She didn't look like a stray so Julie figured she must live somewhere in the apartment complex.  Why she had ventured to Julie's three story landing was a mystery but she quickly became a welcomed intruder.  

All summer Julie worked on her last class requirement and spent her evenings with D O G.  They took walks in the park and mainly kept each other company.  

Julie had begin to suspect that D O G lived in an apartment in the back of the complex.  One evening when Julie was taking her trash to the dumpster she heard a dog yelp.  Just as she turned to see where the sound had come from she saw D O G get the heel of a boot from a young man.  He yelled something like,  "That @#$% dog" as he walked into an apartment.  D O G had made a fast get away into the bushes and though Julie called out to her she didn't reappear.

Julie didn't see D O G for about a week and just when she was about to go knock on the door of the apartment where she'd last been seen Julie opened her front door to find 
D O G sitting outside her door.  This time she wasn't alone.  With her were two puppies that D O G had painstakingly brought up the three flights of stairs to Julie's door.  Julie decided right then and there that obviously D O G wanted Julie to help her.  So that is when my daughter turned into a dognapper.  She waited until dark and then loaded up D O G and her two boys and drove all the way home to my house.  She arrived about midnight and I then became the reciever of stolen property.  

It didn't take long for Julie to find a good home for not only D O G but her two boys, Darrell and his other brother Darrell.  All three dogs lived long and happy lives on the farm of one of Julie's friends.  Fortunately, Julie's picture hasn't shown up at the post office either!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mike Update

Mike saw the doctor yesterday and we were able to get a referal for a neurological exam.  I've wanted this ever since he got out of the hospital.  I'm hoping it will explain the sudden cognitive impairment and give us an idea of what is ahead for him.  In addition, we were able to get a Medicare referal for a home health nurse.  She would fill his med planner and monitor his medications.  That will just help him out financially and it will give me some help with his meds.  If this doesn't work out I'm looking at the Phillips medication dispenser program.  It looks like a possible option.  Right now I fill his med planner every week but I also have to call and remind him to take his medication 4 times a day.  I'm looking for anything that will help with this and the Phillips program may be the thing.

Saturday night Mike watched the Okla/Florida State game with Ron.  I had convinced him he could stay up long enough to see the game.  BIG MISTAKE!  It threw him into a tiz the next day big time.  He just has to stay on a schedule.  We won't do that again!  I had to stay home with him Sunday because he wasn't functioning well at all.  He's much better today.  It just took a day or so to get him back on track.

So,  we are a work in progress.  Learning something every day and coping the best way we can.  Sometimes I think I get so wrapped up in taking care of Mike I forget about Ron.  Things are going good with Ron right now and I kind of put his cancer on the back burner until the next PET scan.  I worry that I'm not being diligent although I don't know what to be diligent about.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Is it that time of year again?

I'm not talking about the impending holidays.......nope I'm talking about election year 2012.  I'm not looking forward to this...... All the slamming and posturing and stupidity that comes with elections.  It's enough to make you want to throw out your tv and start working on your reading list.  And here it is September 2011 and it has already begun.  I guess I'm cynical because it's just more noise to me.  Knowing how politicians work for the highest bidder and not for us (the people) just grates all over me.  Of course what is their motivation?  They don't have the save health insurance issues that we have, social security or medicare don't affect them, they have a retirement for life after one term, so what is their motivation to look out for the people?   So grab your @#$% with both hands and hang on........the bull @#$& is going to fly! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

School Days

My brother, Michael Gene (Mike), wasn't particularly thrilled with having a baby sister but he was however totally devoted to his big brother Butch. Mike wouldn't allow Mom and Dad to leave him with any other baby sitter. He was Butch's shadow and idolized him. Mike was also a pretty baby, so pretty in fact that he won a baby contest only to be disqualified when they discovered he was a boy. It seems he won in the girl's category due in no small part to the beautiful long curls my mother did not have the heart to cut.
People often mistook Mike and I for twins since we were so close in age. We were however opposite in looks and personality. Mike had dark brown hair and brown eyes. He had dark complexion where I was fair and blue eyed. When we were little I was very passive and Mike was as stubborn as a goat. When he was about four years old the decision was made that he would begin sleeping in his own bed and Butch would move out into the newly converted garage bedroom. Well, this didn't settle well with Mike and for three nights he was put to bed at which time he would promptly get up and go to Mom and Dad's room to announce he wasn't sleeping in that bed. After all attempts to put him back in his own bed had failed he was told he could sit on the end of their bed but he would not be allowed to sleep there. Every time he would start to nod off Mom would nudge him awake with her foot. This went on for three nights before he finally surrendered from exhaustion.

There were never too many rules imposed upon Mike and I, maybe because we were the babies and maybe because our parents were more relaxed with us. But mom did have one big rule and that was that we were to play in the back yard only. This wasn't a real big problem since we had a swing set (which Mike was great at swinging higher and higher until he could turn the whole thing over) and we had a great dog named Rusty. But the rule did present a problem when the Howdy Doody ice cream truck came dinging its' way down the street. It was impossible to reach through the fence all the way to the curb. Sometimes when we were able to attract the attention of the "big kids" on the block they would take our dimes and make our ice cream purchase for us. One of those "big kids" was Bobby Cohen. He was the big brother of, now country and western singer, Vince Gill. Vince was just a baby at that time but they lived just a few doors away.

Even though Mike and I didn't have many interests in common and we seldom played together, I wasn't thrilled when he started going to school. Our house wasn't far from the grade school, which was just on the other side of the university’s intramural field. If I stood on the top of the swing set in the back yard I could see the school. Every day I would watch Mike as he crossed the field
on his way to school and I would watch again at 3:00 pm for his return. I wasn't sure what this school business was all about but I knew I didn't like being left out of it. 

Then in October Mike took me to school with him to attend his Halloween party. We walked across the intramural field along with other kids dressed in assorted ghoulish costumes. I followed Mike down the school sidewalk to the very last classroom with the big, blue door. Inside were rows of tiny desks and chairs. I was very impressed when my brother directed me to his assigned place in the room. The teacher brought a little chair and placed it next to my brother’s. Then a wonderful thing happened, out of nowhere, mothers showed up with huge assortments of cookies. There were orange pumpkins, chocolate witches and vanilla ghosts. I thought this school thing was pretty cool and I could hardly wait until it was my turn to go.

       All summer I eagerly waited for the first day of school. My visit in October had convinced me this was the place to be. Finally the day arrived but I wondered why Mike wasn't sharing my enthusiasm as we neared our classroom doors. Then I went inside, there were the same rows of little desks, the same little chairs, but wait, NO COOKIES! I wondered if it was too late to reconsider this school thing. Unfortunately, it was!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Interesting Article

Diet Soda = Diabetes Soda
It may be calorie-free, but diet soda is linked to diabetes and metabolic problems in new study.
By Leah Zerbe

Topics: sugar tax, diabetes, nutrition

Skip soda altogether, and avoid other beverages that seem healthy but aren’t.

Healthy eating tends to go out the window when diet soda's on the menu.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—If you’re fueling up on french fries and spending a lot of time parked on the couch, don’t expect diet soda to save you. Downing calorie-free pop could have the unappetizing consequence of increasing your risk of developing diabetes, according to a new study published in the journal Diabetes Care.

THE DETAILS: Researchers looked at people’s diet soda consumption between the years 2000 and 2002, and then screened them for type 2 diabetes between 2002 and 2007, as part of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, or MESA, an investigation involving more than 6,800 people between 45 and 84 years old. People who drank at least one diet soda a day at the beginning of the study had a 67 percent higher relative risk of type 2 diabetes compared with the people who drank none. Zero-calorie soda also increased the risk of metabolic syndrome—a group of risk factors linked to obesity that increase your chances of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke—by 36 percent.

WHAT IT MEANS: Sipping diet soda to avoid calories sounds like a good idea, but in the real world it tends to come along with other behaviors that may endanger your health. This study didn’t look at the possible cause between the association of diabetes and diet soda, but the lead author has a pretty good idea why this happens. “Although our data did not clearly support this theory, I suspect that persons drinking diet soda are likely eating other foods that elevate risk of metabolic disorders,” says lead study author Jennifer Nettleton, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology at The University of Texas School of Public Health, in Houston. “People drinking diet soda are likely to miscalculate the amount of caloric savings, thus over-consuming other foods, resulting in greater overall energy consumption.”

Here’s how to avoid health problems that come in a calorie-free can:

• Water yourself! Hands down, the best thing you can drink is water. Although this study didn’t find a link between sugar-sweetened soda and diabetes as many other studies have, Nettleton says that’s not a reason for diet drinkers to go back to sugar-swamped beverages. Water should be your drink of choice. Beyond that, check the Beverage Guidance Panel’s tiered system to help you make the healthiest choices.

• Look at the whole picture. If diabetes is a real threat to you, chances are your entire problem isn’t coming from a soda can or bottle, but rather a slew of factors. To keep your blood sugar steady, eat a balanced diet with as little refined sugar as possible (replace processed foods with whole, organic vegetables and fruits), cut out soda and sweetened juices containing little real fruit juice, and get more active, even if that means walking in 10-minute spurts several times a day. Make lots of small changes you can stick to, rather than a single dramatic one. “Lifestyle changes must be moderate and sustainable, and focus on all aspects of diet—not just single food and beverage entities—and include physical activity and stress management,” says Nettleton. “Too many marketing gimmicks exist that suggest there is a single ‘panacea’ to prevent obesity and its related morbidities. This simply isn’t the case.”

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Better Day

    Mike had a much better day yesterday!  Just when I think I have lost my ability to cope and I'm at my wits end God steps in.  I got just the break I needed and am ready to start over.  In fact I'm the one who called Mike last night because I HADN'T heard from him since 2pm.  He was fine, just tired from his busy day.  He volunteered at the church thrift store yesterday, something he really enjoys and he was tired. 
    Ron and I have a lot going on this weekend.  We are going to a memorial service for an old high school classmate on Saturday.  I hate the fact that we are now at that age when we are losing many of our friends but I guess this is where we are in life.
    I've been watching documentaries on 9/11 and we saw one last night on flight 175 that flew into the World Trade Center.  They interviewed family members who spoke with their loved ones during the highjacking.  One set of parents were watching the plane on tv while talking to their son on th phone just as the plane went into the tower. I was ahhh struck by the calmness in his voice.  It made me think that I would have felt lucky to have been able to speak one last time to my loved one.  I hope it gave those family members some sense of peace.  I can't imagine induring such pain.
   Ron and I will be attending a meeting Sunday night with several different religious leaders of varying faiths in our community.  It is an opportunity to discuss ways to strengthen our communities.  I'm looking forward to hearing what they have to say.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Three Blind Mice

Some days my brother really tests my last nerve.  I'm not proud of that fact but it just comes with the territory.  He has developed a fixation on his eyes.  He was seen by the Ophthalmologist  who diagnosed him with allergies.  No big surprise since he is allergic to everything in nature.  His eyes get matted and they will water, itch and burn.  He has some prescription eye drops and he uses artificial tears when needed.  But..........he is so fixated on it that he thinks he is totally debilitated because of his eyes.  

He called me at least 30 times yesterday which was a clue that he was obsessing about something.  At 2pm he called and asked me to come over at 5:00 if he wasn't any better.  I asked him what was wrong and he replied, "I'm blind."

"What do you mean your blind?" I asked.

"My eyes shut down....I'm blind...I've been blind all day." responded Mike.

Hmmmmmmm the other 29 calls there was no mention of being BLIND.

This has become an every day topic.  He is driving me nuts with this.  He wanted the neighbor to come over and help him.  I asked him what he needed help with and he said, "To go to the bathroom."

I got frustrated and told him I was sure he could find the bathroom with his eyes closed and I know he knows where his (pardon the expression) pecker is so leave the poor neighbor alone.

He wears goggles in the shower and now he's blind.  Of course he was no longer blind at 4:00.  The neighbor came over and put drops in Mike's eyes and low and behold........the blind can see!!!  Pardon my sarcasm - it's just a tension release.

God.........give me patience....but hurry!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Hope Love Does Win

My brain has been really quiet lately, not much going on in my head. My dad used to tell all of his children that they had shiny little brains without a wrinkle in them. Lately, my little wrinkle-less brain has been totally empty. I hate to write something down that even bores the snot out of me so I’ve been waiting for a bolt of inspiration. Unfortunately nothing of any magnitude has come along.

Our Sunday school class has been reading Love Wins, by Rob Bell. We did have quite the discussion last Sunday led by a well-educated philosopher who spoke way over my head for most of the class. There were also lively interjections by a Cornell University science graduate who merely rebuffed any inquiry into matters that could not be measured scientifically.

Here are some excerpts from Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Has Ever Lived
“A staggering number of people have been taught that a few select Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better. It's been clearly communicated to many that this belief is a central truth of the Christian faith and to reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear."

"At the center of the Christian tradition since the first church has been the insistence that history is not tragic, hell is not forever, and love, in the end, wins."

"When people say they're tired of hearing about "sin" and "judgment: and "condemnation," it's often because those have been confused for them with the nature of God. God has no desire to inflict pain or agony on anyone."

"For some, the highest form of allegiance to their God is to attack, defame, and slander others who don't articulate matters of faith as they do."

"None of us have cornered the market on Jesus, and none of us ever will."

In an exclusive interview with USA TODAY, Bell jokes: "I am not aware that labels are the highest form of goodness and truth." He rebuffs critics who say he presents a Jesus-optional Christianity: "Jesus spoke of the renewal of all things. He said, 'I have sheep who are not of this flock.' Through him, extraordinary things are happening in the world. If saying that gets you banned from the E-club, so be it."

Bell's view is "that God is love, that he sent Jesus to show us that love, that love demands freedom. So making definitive judgments about other people's destiny is not interesting to me. The heart of God is to rescue everyone from everything we need to be rescued from."

I can’t help but think about what my maternal grandmother’s reaction to this book might be. She was of a fundamentalist faith that did not encourage freethinking. In other words they did not care if “Inquiring minds wanted to know”.

One thing that was brought up in class was the idea that before we begin our earthly lives as humans we have all the knowledge we need. We know everything there is to know about God. It is an innate knowledge given to us all by God. But, once we enter into our earthly bodies and lives we may begin to lose that knowledge.

Well, the way I interrupted this is that we may have that innate knowledge but sometimes we just “educate” it right out of ourselves. (Like my two friends in class)  My thoughts are that we all or at least most of us have a voice inside us that we either choose to listen to or to ignore. That voice can be called a conscience or whatever else you might name it. If we listen to it we know when we are treating someone in a way that we would not like to be treated. We have to be conscious of our intention. Now what we humans are very good at is justifying our actions. Frankly I believe religion over complicates the whole thing.

"Satan is the best friend the church has ever had as he has kept it in business all these years." -Anton LaVey

“I’d rather believe and be wrong than not believe and be wrong.” –Pascal

I haven’t finished the book yet but there are some points that resonate with me. I agree with the author that the idea that geography may dictate whether you go to heaven or not never quite made sense to me. What would be God’s purpose for that?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Gotta Stay Healthy

I know it doesn't sound possible but this is the first time that it has ever hit me that I can't afford to be sick.  I haven't felt good since last Friday and after a week it finally hit me that I CAN'T get sick.  I am the caregiver and caregivers just don't have time to get sick.  What really got me was thinking about what would happen to my brother if I were not here to look after him?  I can't believe I've never thought about that before.  I just assume I'll always be here to take care of him.  How naive is that?  I know it is silly to worry about things that haven't happened but it really did shake me up to think I can't afford to get sick.  Thank goodness there is nothing seriously wrong with me but it did give me cause to think about the situation.  I'm sure this is a concern for all caregivers.