Monday, November 22, 2010


Well, I finally broke down and joined Facebook so I could view the photos from my 40 year class reunion (which I didn't attend).

Holy COW!!! 40 Years!

But I digress...... I had put off joining Facebook because I have watched it consume the lives of some people I love, and I didn't want to go down that road. I figured I was doing just fine without it.

Now that I have finally joined I'm amazed by the number of people who have sent me "friend requests", in some cases friends I haven't seen or talked to in years. I get to peer into their thoughts and little snippets of their lives. In a way it made me feel like a voyer at first, but then I rationalized that they WANT people to know these little detail, so I talked myself into not worrying. I don't, however, feel that everyone on the planet is interested in my little snippets of thoughts, so while I make comments once in a while I never have (and probably never will) just "made a post". We'll see....after all - I didn't think I'd ever be on Facebook to begin with!

I find that young people post more, and their posts are just little comments on their day. I've learned that teenagers haven't learned to "edit their thoughts" yet. And I've learned that some of the most reticent folks I know aren't reticent at all when they aren't dealing face-to-face. I have one friend who puts a "quote" every day, and some of them have made me laugh out loud.....for instance when she wrote "I know the voices in my head aren't real, but sometimes they have good ideas" I simply cracked up..........maybe because sometimes the voices in MY head have good ideas too!

I have one friend (I almost consider him my child) who has taken up photography as a hobby and he routinely posts some of the most amazing photos I have ever had the privilege to see. They are truly stunning! You can check them out at . It will be worth you time!

Then there's our nephew, who has a son that we haven't had the opportunity to see in person, but the photos they post of him make me giggle. He seems to be the happiest little guy on the planet! I plan to make certain we get to see him for the holidays.

I have found friends who I used to work with, friends who have moved away, and family I didn't know I had.

So thank you Facebook, for letting me do it my own way, for letting me peer into little snippets of peoples lives, and for helping me find some good friends that I had misplaced.

It's been an adventure!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Yesterday my daughter Tracy called and asked if it was still "OK" for her to come spend the day with me. Silly question! I can think of few people on the planet I would rather spend the day with! She came down, and since her daughter, Savannah, was staying with friends down this direction I got a double!

Tracy is working on a college paper, and she wanted some information on our family, specifically my father's side. Several years ago for Christmas my sister, Lois, put together a book for me, followed up a couple of years later by another. They are truly remarkable works! The first one contained a letter about my life written by my parents, including the first words I spoke ("banana", go figure!), the age at which I first walked (16 months...little slow but Mom said it was because I scooted, carrying all my "goodies" on my lap with me), and even a sheet telling what prices were, what the top movie was, etc. during my year of birth. I know she spent many weeks and long nights putting that album together, then about 2 years later she did volume two. What a wonderful, thoughtful gift that has been. In volume two she took a tape recorder to the hospital while our father was ill and asked him to "tell his stories" about his family. Then she performed the labor of love of dictating all his stories into print. They are like reading a good book told by a friend...and the telling brings a picture in the mind that can put you right at the time and place.

Last night Tracy read both books, front to back, and asked for copies of the stories Dad told. He was such a remarkable man and he married a remarkable woman. Both our folks were totally blind..but there was nothing Dad could not do, from woodworking, to plumbing and wiring, to fixing his car (he had to hire a driver, but only because the State refused to give him a license). The newspaper articles Lois gathered together documented some of his remarkable life, from the time he taught at television school in Chicago during the infancy of TV to his college attendance and the work he did as a piano tuner. The book also documents, complete with old photos, his father, whom we never knew because he died while Dad was young, to great grandparents long departed. It was a fun and nostalgic evening that I have often repeated (I seem to pull out the books about once or twice a year).

So thank you Lois! That truly is the best gift I have ever received.

And thank you Tracy, for a crazy, wonderful, funny evening! I hope you had as much fun as I did...and I hope we didn't tell stories to Savannah that you had hoped to keep secret!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A wet spring makes for a wet nose!!

I was at work a couple of weeks ago, and the cute young gal who works directly across from me had what sounded at the time to be the Martian Death Flu. She was coughing, sniffling, sneezing, wheezing, and all the other "ing's" that go along with the dreaded gambu! Well, of course about 10 days later I too began to exhibit all the symptoms I had so sympathized over with her. After fevers, chills, runny nose, horrible cough, etc. I took myself off to the doctor, who promptly placed me on an antibiotic. I dutifully took the full course, and assumed I would live.

Never assume!

A week after finishing the antibiotics I was still exhibiting a lot of symptoms, wheezing, coughing, feeling like someone had beat me with a large stick, etc., so I went back to the doctors and saw another person this time (not necessarily my choice, I just hit a clinic and took what I got). The next doctor decided I have COPD, did x-rays (they didn't show anything unusual), drew blood (had to "Fish" for the vein....still have a bruise 10 days later), gave me a bunch of medicine and sent me home.

I have taken the new medicine, used a sinus rinse, and still felt like death was knocking at my door. Over all this I missed 2-1/2 days of work (I NEVER miss work.....there just isn't time to catch up!), and went back still sounding so sick that everyone was telling me I should just go home.

I've been fighting my way through this now for a couple of weeks. For those of you who know me, my work takes me into the Utah west desert on an average of 2 or 3 times a week. I discovered that when I was in the desert I didn't feel so bad, but when I got home I was sick and hacking again. Today, on my way home from the middle of nowhere to the good old "home front" I found out what the problem REALLY is! As we drove from the desert into the city, and especially as we approached the foothills I found myself rapidly developing a sinus headache, my ears plugged, my nose ran, and my eyes began to itch. My throat developed such an itch that only prolonged spasmodic coughing scratched it, and all the while my nose was running. DUH!!! Lightbulbs finally came on!!!

For all of you out there who have suffered allergies lo these many sincere sympathy and my apologies for not fully understanding just how mightily you were suffering! I will now take myself off to an allergist and see if I can get this under control.

All of this is, I'm sure, a result of the delightfully wet spring we had here this year. Everything turned green very early in the year, and has (for the most part) stayed green up till now. That means the grasses are taller, the weeds are larger, and the pollen is thicker.

All I can say is there really is something to be said for snow.....even if I have to shovel it! At least that should take care of the pollen problem (until next spring).

Again, my apologies and sympathy to all my fellow sufferers. I never KNEW!!!!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A miracle day!

39 years ago today I experienced the first miracle in my life.....the birth of the most beautiful daughter any mother ever had! While her birth was very trying they ensuing 38 years have been nothing short of wonderful.

Tracy was beautiful at birth. Mothers and fathers and family came to see their new babies and always said "Wow! Look at that one!", and pointed to Tracy.

Over the years she has brought nothing but smiles and delight into our lives. She was an easy child to raise. She brought smiles and sunshine wherever she went..and I do believe it must have just been in her nature because she still brings smiles and sunshine into the lives she touches today.

When she was a teenager I had a fit of insanity and allowed my sister Lois to take her on a trip to Mexico City. The stories they regaled me with on their successful and safe return still make me shudder today. I think honestly if I had to do that trip over again I'd keep her home, but I'm sure she's glad I didn't! And I know Lois feels closer to Tracy than she would have if I hadn't allowed the trip.

While Tracy was in High School I used to love Parent/Teacher conferences because the teachers were nearly as in love with my child as I was. They used to ask me hopefully if I had any more kids that would be coming to their school. Now that makes a Parent proud!

Even today, when I talk to people who know Tracy they have nothing to say but accolades. When her name is mentioned the words "sweet", "Nice", 'wonderful", "great", "awesome", and "I just love her!" always enter the conversation.

I told a friend at work who was starting his Master's program at the University where Tracy works that I have a daughter who works in the department he was attending. He asked her name, then made it a point to ask his advisor if she knew Tracy (she did), and if he could meet her to introduce himself. He called me the next day to let me know he had met Tracy, and that when he asked about her he found that she was "VERY well liked" at the University. It told him that I figured she would be well liked - she's a nice person with a good work ethic. He then straightened me telling me that she isn't just "liked", but loved. In fact, he said, "it was like a love-fest whenever I mentioned her name". He then looked at my face very closely and asked me if Tracy was adopted. I just smiled, told him "no", and said "aren't genetics interesting?"

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TRACY! You are as beautiful inside as you are outside. You have brought more joy into my life than I knew any person could have. You have always made me proud to be your mother and I love you without bounds.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Parking, anyone?

It's rodeo time in Utah. Unfortunately I live next door to the rodeo arena, so from now through Saturday I will hear cheers, watch skydivers, endless traffic, and approximately 12,000 people a night trying to find a parking spot. That's the most entertaining part of this time of year....folks will actually walk several miles to sit in the hot sun, watch cows and horses ridden by city cowboys, and drink overpriced beer, pop, and ice cones. And typically on the "big" day, July 24th, they are sold out....meaning there are at least 20,000 people who live in this area that are totally crazy! I had suspected that all along, but this puts the exclamation point on the end of the sentence.

I used to sit on the front porch to watch the folks coming and going, coming and going, coming and going. But now that I'm officially "older" (please note: not old, just older) and wiser, I rush home so I can find parking for myself less than a mile from the house. I sometime have to explain to the "parking dudes" that it's ok for me to park here, I LIVE here!

Then I hear the loudspeaker, watch the drunks (their longevity for watching the rodeo varies widely....almost a show in itself), and most entertaining of 12,000 people scramble to 6,000 cars and try to leave in under 2 hours. VERY entertaining!!!

Actually, if it weren't so doggone hot around her right now I would probably cough up some money and wander on over. After all, I don't have to wait in their long lines for the bathroom, drink their $5 or $6 bottled water, or for that matter eat a $6 hamburger of hot dog. I can wander home for ALL of the above, confident that I will be back in very short order.

I also get to see friends that I haven't seen or talked to in some time. After all, I have GOOD parking very close to the main event!

All-in-all it's a fun pain in the neck and it always surprises me how quickly it rolls around each year. It just seems like it was Christmas, and here we are more than half way to the next one, as proven by the fact that only one week after this entertaining spectacle is over it will be August. I think, if I were smart, that the end of the rodeo would officially mark my "start Christmas shopping" season.

I guess we'll see how smart I am................

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Older and wiser

I turned 58 yesterday, and my wonderful family all called or stopped to see me. Our son Forrest invited us to a dinner out on the town, and that sounded lovely. It is just plain TOO HOT to cook. So I waited anxiously for the appointed time, got my husband, Dick, out of bed and began to get him ready to go. He felt dizzy, and begged I went to dinner without him. Although we had a wonderful time it wasn't nearly as good as it would have been if I hadn't allowed one corner of my brain to worry about Dick the whole time we were gone.

Overall though, I had a very nice day. My brother David gave me a wonderful hand-written letter about our growing up years and how much he cares for me, along with a nice chunk of cash to "spend on myself". That was very special.

Our son Forrest and his family not only me us for dinner, but gave me beautifully framed photos of themselves taken by a friend.

Our daughter Tracy called, and promised she would be down in a week or so, she just couldn't make it that day. She is always good for her word, so I get to have ANOTHER birthday when she arrives! (But that doesn't mean I'm another year older..!)

My sister Lois and brother-in-law Beaux each called me independently, which was very nice. There's something special about talking to each one personally.

My brother Ken called, my sister-in-law Tina called, and my good friend Marie called. Actually Marie was the very first to wish me a Happy Birthday.

Today our friend Bobby stopped by to wish me a happy birthday too. The birthday wishes just seem to keep coming.

I want each and every one of them to know that I felt wrapped in their love and humbled by their caring for me.

Since it was my birthday I gave myself an early present. I have been thinking for some time about adding a little color to my life....literally. For years I have kept all the walls in the house painted white...not just white but "ultra pure white", figuring that I would add color with the items I put in the room and hung on the walls. I have a lot of wood in the house and that has always been satisfactory for me. But a while back my daughter and her husband painted their living room wall and one wall in their kitchen very bright colors, one red, one a deep forest green, and I fell in love with the feel the colors added to their home. So, never one to move very quickly when change like this comes along, I have been debating with myself about painting one of my walls a different color. I have exposed brick in the kitchen, so I figured I needed something complimentary, which left me in the red hughes. I finally chose a color, bought a gallon of primer and paint, and put them on the back porch for the last 5 or 6 months....still debating internally. I've been all-white so long that it felt like a huge leap to go with color. Silly, huh?

Anyway, I finally broke down the other day while I had some time off of work and primed the wall with the gray primer the paint lady sold me. Good Lord, gray is an ugly color on a wall! It was supposed to dry for 24 hours, but it was so ghastly that I couldn't wait. I waited several hours, ran my hand over the whole wall to make sure it was dry, then stayed up late to paint the red. I went to bed quite contented that I would wake up and find an exciting change in the room when I first entered in the morning. Boy! Did I get a surprise. I'm not sure if it was due to the gray primer, but when the whole wall was painted the color I had chosen it turned out to look purple. Not just any old purple, either. It looked "plum" purple. I could hardly believe it. My experiment was not going as planned! So today, after drinking my morning coffee, I couldn't stand it another minute. I ran to the store and bought myself a "real red" paint, and came home hoping it would help. I now have a very red (well, actually kind of a burgundy red) wall and I like it much better. Dick was asleep when I painted over the purple, so I guess we'll see if he can live with the red or not. If he hates it I'll try something else, but for now I'm kinda liking it! And it was relatively quick and easy to do.....less than an hour today to cover the purple. If that's all it takes I may change color weekly, or every time I buy new shoes. Who knows where this could lead? I might end up dying my hair a different color, or get new colored contacts to see with. This may have started a whole new phase of my life.......'if you don't like it - paint it!".

It's probably a good thing birthdays only come once a year....I seem to have lost my mind with this one!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

dialysis and other stuff

For those who don't know me or my husband I'll give you a short introduction to a couple of things. My husband has kidney failure and has been on dialysis since 2003. From the beginning our goal has been to find a way to dialyze him at home. Our lifestyle has always been more gypsy than settled, so one of our primary concerns when his kidneys failed and we finally had to start dialysis was that we could still enjoy as much freedom as possible. There are two kinds of dialysis, peritoneal and hemo, hemo being the one most folks picture when they think of dialysis, where the blood is filtered. Peritoneal is where the dialysate fluid is pumped into the peritoneal sac (via a port implanted just below the belly-button), and the dialysis is performed on a 24 hour fill-er-up, then go to bed. The machine replaces the fluid over-night the required number of times for your prescription and then you wear the fluid in your abdomen most of the day - with one change mid-day. It's the most flexible form of dialysis, so that's what we opted to do.

Unfortunately you don't always get what you husband had some complications that put him into the hospital and while there we learned that he had some blockages in his legs that meant we could not do peritoneal dialysis. So they inserted a port in his chest (with a line into his heart- called a "perma-cath") and while in the hospital they began his hemodialysis.

With hemodialysis they typically make a "fistula", where they surgically graft the artery and vein together. That, once it has healed and "matured", allows enough blood flow to accommodate the large exchange of blood required for hemodialysis. There are 5 to 6 liters of blood in the human body. During a normal treatment we usually filter more than 60 liters, so that means we cycle all the blood in his body through the filter about 10 times. It's really quite amazing when you think about it!

Hemodialysis is usually done in a dialysis center 3 times a week for about 4 hours a treatment. You can travel, but only if you can make your appointments every-other-day during the week, or if you intend to go somewhere that has another dialysis center where you can get an appointment and take 4 hours (plus travel time) out of your day. Not really what we had in mind! I work every day, and when we get away we didn't want to plan our trips around the availability of a dialysis center and the appointments that were available for him.

One day while he was at the dialysis center our dialysis nurse came out looking for a patient who might be willing to try a new form of home-hemodialysis. She remembered that our goal had been to do the dialysis at home and approached my husband. She gave him some information to bring home and discuss, and told us it was another option if we were interested.

Were we!! We read all the brochures, talked and talked and talked about it, then told her to sign us up! It required that someone be there with him, and because his fistula is on his right arm (and he has stroke damage in his left arm) I had to be a willing participant and put in the needles, start the treatment, and monitor him. I was more than we began a two week training to do the dialysis. We have now been doing this at home for 4 years....I know because every year on the anniversary of our beginning the treatment a dialysis nurse comes to our home to watch the treatment and "re-certify" me to continue dialysis at home. This is the 4th year!

I have to say, it's been both a blessing and a challenge. To begin with I was a wreck, and he was fairly nervous too. Add to that that it seemed that everything that could go wrong DID go wrong (Murphy's law), but we had support through the company available 24 hours a day, and our dialysis nurse gave us her number we made it through all the trials and tribulations.......and we survived them all! Now when something occasionally doesn't go as planned it doesn't even fluster us - we've gained a lot of confidence and know that we can get through almost anything.

It still startles our neighbors, friends and occasional visitors when they come into the house and find him in his easy chair with lines coming out of his arms and blood obviously flowing through the lines, but we are more than happy to tell them what we are doing and what a blessing it truly is! We dialyze 6 days a week, and the day we take off is more for us than for medical reasons. Everybody needs a true day off now and again. We have the flexibility to dialyze any time of day we want, usually on my work days we dialyze in the late-afternoon or early evening. On my days off we dialyze in the morning, unless we don't want's truly our choice what our schedule is!

And the biggest bonus is that we can take our supplies and our machine and go on a trip if we so choose. We make the dialysis fit our day, and don't have to fit our day around the dialysis. Besides, it's so much more comfortable for him to sit in his own home, watching his own television, with his "protector" dog on his lap while he dialyses. I hook him up, then fix dinner, we eat, talk, I can run around and clean if I want (although I need to stay in the house to monitor him in case something unexpected happens. Mostly we are just more comfortable at home than sitting in a sterile center with strangers "performing" dialysis on him.

It's been a grand adventure and one we hope to continue for many years to come. And the very best part of it is that along with all the other advantages the biggest advantage is that by doing the filtering on a daily basis his health is much better...he no longer builds up toxins for 2 days, then has too much fluid and toxin pulled off at one time making him feel like he's been through the ringer. Every day dialysis keeps the toxins and fluid down, much more like kidneys would. Being at home makes him much happier, and since we like each other and enjoy each other's company, he has maintained a remarkable sense of humor about the whole thing!

If any of you happened upon this blog by doing a search for "dialysis" because you or a family member has a pending need I hope this has been of help to you. Talk to your doctor and ask about the home dialysis options. There is so much now available out there that your life, although it will change, doesn't have to change as dramatically as you might think.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Not that old yet!

Several years ago my sister and I were on a mission to find a suitable care center for our mother, who being both totally blind and in the early stages of alzheimer's disease needed some special care. We went from home to home to home, talking to staff and asking questions, touring facilities and moving on. We had been at it for most of a day when at one of the facilities a staff member asked me if my sister was my Daughter. Now, just so you know, I'm only 8 years older than my sister, and while I do love her dearly I am NOT her mother!!!! I have my own beautiful daughter, but I'm more than 8 years older than her. When the woman asked me the question I made the mental note "IDIOT!", and determined then-and-there to continue our hunt. So off we went to continue our quest. Later that day, after another 1 or 2 facilities had been toured and rated by us, we were leaving another potential candidate when the woman cheerfully asked me "Is this your daughter?".

I had thought the first one was an idiot, but two idiots in one day? Perhaps the fault lay in me....not them????? What a terrifying thought!!!

I went to the nearest mirror and found that my hair was mostly gray (I had turned gray in front at 23 as a result of damage to my hair folicles from a car accident), but now the rest of my hair was that "ugly, dirty, old-woman" gray color. No wonder they thought I was old.

Being under some stress because of Mom's condition, and with a husband with health challenges of his own, I decided then and there that there are very few things in life one has control of......but hair color is one of them. I drove directly to the store and haven't had anyone ask me that horrible question since.

I bring this topic up because last night I looked in the mirror and discovered to my horror that I had waited too long between dye jobs....and my temple hairs were glowing brightly in the dark. I ran to the cupboard (where I will NEVER run out of hair color) and grabbed a box. 30 minutes later I was color coded and ready for bed.

It worked too! I got to work today and several of my co-workers commented, not on my hair color, but "you look perky today", "you look like you got some good rest last night", "you look happy", etc.

I highly recommend buying a box. The cost of peace of mind runs about half a penny a day........and if it's not worth that I don't know what is!!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Better than expected!

Back from the massage, and WOW! I feel almost human again! The gal who worked me over did it with a vengeance, and that's just what I needed. I haven't felt this good (not to mention - this oiled) since I don't know when. You, my beloved friends and family, may call me if you need her name and contact information, for the rest of the world.....well - if I tell all of you there won't be any appointment time left for me.................
Today I get a massage. I commented to a co-worker that I'm sore everywhere, and the next thing I knew his wife sent me an e-mail asking what day would be best for a massage with their favorite masseuse. I told her today was the only day available, and "presto-changeo" I have an appointment in just under an hour. I'll have more to say when I get back (assuming I can still use these sore muscles).