Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Friday, May 9, 2008

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tiptoe Through The Tulips...........

No matter how long the winter, Spring is sure to follow...............OK, it may be MAY, but I think spring is actually trying to stay here in Hiawatha. Granted, it keeps cooling off into a very cool spring, but I can see the green grass and a few flowers! I am going to spend the weekend trying to get my yard into shape and planting some flowers. When I see my front porch with baskets of flowers, it immediately makes me feel better. We will probably never forget this past winter, but I think we can finally say 'good-bye' to it!

Monday, May 5, 2008

I feel the pull of Ireland...................

These are pictures the girls took along Ireland's coast. Aren't the colors amazing? I love the colorfulness of the boats and houses juxtaposed against the beautiful sky and ocean. Last Christmas I told the girls all I wanted were some pictures they took while in Ireland. The colors are amazing and they really do have an Old World feel to all of them. I want to live in Ireland for six months. I want to walk through the countryside knowing that my great grandparents started their lives there. I think if I were in Ireland they wouldn't even realize I was a 'foreigner'. (Especially during 'freckle season'!) Until then, I will have to gaze at the pictures I have been treated to........

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Five Times The LOVE

For this child I prayed and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of Him...I Samuel 1:27...and He did it FIVE times over.
FIVE: It all began with the 'collection' of five children. Then I decided to collect things with the number 5 on them. I see 5's and feel an immediate attraction. FIVE. Most days (even after all these years) I find it amazing, befuddling, wonderful, tiring, endless worrying, constant pride and eternal love when I see my children or talk to them. I am still in awe of the fact that we produced five beautiful children.
When I had five (FIVE!!!!!) children under the age of seven, I knew life could not get any harder than that. Just the constant one on one attention they needed and endless list of needs of five tiny children was enough to wear anyone out. I knew that was the hardest age.
When I had five (FIVE!!!) children finally in school all at once I knew life could not get any harder than that. Just the fact that I had five parent/teacher conferences, five Christmas parties, five classes worth of Valentines, and activities times five was enough to wear anyone out. I knew that was the hardest age.
When I had five (FIVE!!!) teenagers at once, I knew positively that life could not get any harder than that. Instead of worrying about mittens and ear infections and carseats and soccer practice and homework, I was suddenly worrying about peer pressure and parties, popularity, problems and passions! The hormones that were raging at our house were enough to wear anyone out. I knew that was the hardest age.
Now that I have five (FIVE!!!) children (on the verge) of being out of high school, going off in new directions, being on their own, taking care of their own lives, I KNOW life can not get any harder than this! It is hard to let go. It is hard to hold on. It is hard to know what to do. This has to be the hardest age.
Will I ever lose my love for the number 5? Absolutely NOT. Just the image of that number conjures up so many memories of so many of life's stages. .....Not to mention FIVE TIMES the love I have been given!
A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was (zero to negative), the sort of house I lived in (well worn and well used), or the kind of car I drove (big vans and high mileage) ..........But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.
*picture borrowed for this post, but for the life of me, I can't find it again to give proper credit.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

God's Answers Are Wiser Than Our Prayers...

We shape our lives not by what we carry with us, but by what we leave behind.
In this Great Move, it seems that for every decision we make, two more unfold waiting for answers. There is nothing easy about uprooting our family, leaving our jobs and the house and community in which our children have grown up. There are so many 'little' issues that must be dealt with like NOT taking everything, finding new banks and doctors and mechanics! We want all five children to be happy, but we also must look out for ourselves (Tim and me) as we are no spring chickens. We have to look beyond the Big Move into the future. We have to pack, haul, arrange, say good-byes and till-we-meet-agains. It is SO much more than moving five children, two adults, pets, seventeen years of material accumulations and packing a giant house. It is stuffing our hearts and minds full of minutes and memories of our friends. Remembering so many 'that's the last time we'll do that' each time it happens. It is putting snapshots in our mind and treasures in our heart. It is waking up each morning and asking God to help us make the right decisions and going to bed each night praying again, "Please God, help me to do what ever is right for our family. Amen."

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Whole New Perspective to "Losing Your Mind"....!

I finally got my head together....now my body is falling apart....
Isn't this a great picture? Timbo had come home from work and was laying his head down on the bar while he was waiting on supper to be ready. I was folding the clothes (also in the pic!) when I looked up and noticed that shot. I (stupidly) said, "Tim, don't move," while I reached for the camera. So he raises up and turns around to look at me. I made him put his head back down so I could take the picture. It looks like I finally bit his head off! AND I did this all without any Photoshop or anything else. Just tired 'ole Tim and a very good picture. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails..

Happy Birthday Sarah!!!
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, "WHAT, You too? I thought I was the only one!"...C.S.Lewis
To my very good friend Sarah, who understands the love of the sun and the craving of 90 degrees. Sarah shares the same summer addictions I do, and is willing to spend her summer afternoons soaking in the sunshine, reading good books, and of course a sharing a little gossip! I'll never find anyone else that truly understands the tan thing like you do! Thanks for being such a wonderful (and beautiful) friend.
p.s. I picked the title just for Sarah and her unbelievable voice. I love to stand by Sarah at ball games and lip sync "The Star Spangled Banner" and just hope that someone thinks that her voice is coming out of my mouth!! (true story)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock

How did it get so late so soon?
It's night before it's afternoon.
December is here before it's June.
My goodness how the time how flown.
How did it get so late so soon?
--Dr. Seuss--
How did it get so late so soon? All of a sudden it is the last full week of April. I have four weeks of school left. In that time I have to clean out my classroom, pack it up for the new 'owner', pack what I am taking, plan a graduation party, plan a move, pack the house..................and it goes on and on. I feel time ticking away. I have so much to do! I realized it is the end of April and I have not even thought about, much less designed and had printed Luke's graduation announcements! Plus, I need to address the envelopes and get them sent. At the rate I am going, people will get them after the party. I need to figure out what we are having to eat, make arrangements for family who will be here to visit, order his name tags for the announcements, and the list goes on and on. Every day I add to the list far more than I scratch off. Time is ticking away! I have things I am writing that I want to get finished before I leave Kansas. I have so much to do that it is overwhelming me. Tim leaves for Oklahoma in less than five weeks. Does anyone else feel time ticking away? All this and none of it even touches on the fact that my baby, the last one of the brood is a senior in high school soon to graduate. Wasn't it only yesterday that he was toddling after all his brothers and sisters? How did it get so late so soon?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

When You're Lucky Enough To Be Irish..........

I have written several times about my Grammie and Pop, my paternal grandparents. I was equally as lucky to have a maternal set of grandparents that were off the scales if one were measuring grandparents! With the spring weather we are enjoying (two days in a row now!) my thoughts turn to my Granddad Flanagan. Long before the weather was decent enough to go outside, he would have already been out getting everything ready so that when a beautiful day like today came along he was ready to plant. He was a wonderful gardener. I couldn't even begin to count the number of people that were on the receiving end of his garden's bounty. Perhaps it was because he was a full-blood Irishman, but my Granddad Flanagan was 'green' long,long before it was 'cool' to be green. My Granddad was the original 'recycle, reuse, reduce' man. We laughed at him about it. He took one mans junk and recycled it into something most of us never would have thought about. He made all kind of projects for his various gardens. He loved equally to garden fruit trees, vegetable gardens, herb gardens and flowers. If it could be grown he grew it. There was nothing that went to waste with my Granddad Flanagan. My Granddad gave practical gifts as presents. At the time, I never minded getting them, but I did not understand the importance of them until I got older. For instance, he gave Tim and me gifts such as a new wheelbarrow, a big gas can, trashcans complete with a handmade trashcan holder so dogs wouldn't get into the trash and an assortment of tools and motors. Believe me, all the gifts were handy and used all the time. It is only as I have gotten older that I realize the importance of what he was teaching me. One of his favorite gifts was to give us was a $100 grocery gift certificate. Wasn't that the best and most thoughtful? One gift he surprised me with, and totally out of character for his practical side, was a large painting of my three oldest children from a professional photographers. Every time I look at it still I not only "ooohahhh" over my three babies, but I think of Granddad and the fact that he knew I would love it, but never be able to afford it on my own. My Granddad was like that. He was also the most handsome man I have ever seen to this day. Period. No questions asked. When he was 80 he was still good looking (and not looking a day over 50!). He had the bluest eyes that were filled with mischief and kindness. His eyes looked like the ocean in the blue Caribbean. My Granddad never wasted time. He was always up and around doing something. He was a storyteller extraordinaire. He was a wordsmith with words. He was a man of many words and he knew how to use them well both written and verbally. My Granddad adored my Grandmother. She loved to wait on him and pamper him. Perhaps he was lucky, or maybe because he was such an outstanding gardener, but for whatever reason my Grandmother was a cook that cannot be matched. She could have made dirt taste good. She not only could cook anything and make it exceptional, but everything she cooked and presented to her family and friends to eat was like a picture. Her tables were beautiful and laden with fresh flowers and fresh food. When I see redbirds I know my grandparent Fergusons are around, but when I see gardens full of food and flowers I think of the Flanagans. As a couple it was unbelievable what they brought from the earth. I would love to hear them now if they could see this whole 'organic and green' movement. My Granddad, a true Irishman, talked often in Irish riddles and verses. One verse he repeated so often I can still hear him saying it, "If you're lucky enough to be Irish----You're Lucky enough." Just like the gifts that I learned in time were far more important than their surface value, I finally understand the depth of that verse. I was SO lucky to have them in my life........

Monday, April 21, 2008

Be Still And Know That I Am God.....

"Be still and know that I am God;
I will be exhalted among the nations,
I will be exhalted in the earth."----Psalms 46:10
When I was looking for something to write about today, my mind just kept thinking about what a wonderful day it was. The weather was beautiful, there was so much green, and I finally have a few flowers blooming in my yard. I just kept thinking about the beauty of the day. So when I went to write, I looked through the photos I have on my computer to put a picture with something about spring. Instead I came upon these photos I took in Colorado Springs back in September. We were taking the train to the top of the mountain and no matter which direction I looked all I could see was beauty. God's beauty. It was overwhelmingly beautiful. When we got to the top we were told the story about Katharine Bates, (also an English teacher!!!) who went to the top of Pike's Peak in 1893. She had driven through Kansas (also !!!) and then was to teach summer school in Colorado Springs. After getting to the top of Pike's Peak she immediately wrote the words to "America The Beautiful". The "purple mountains majesty" was beautiful beyond words as I looked out from the top of Pike's Peak myself. So today, I thought not only of the beauty of spring and the rebirth of everything around me, but I was also taken back to the top of that mountain and the beauty that just was really beyond words. ---Or so I thought. I knew the pictures would suffice because of their beauty, but then the Bible verse came to mind, "Be still and know that I am God." What better time to be still and reflect on God's amazing love than spring time? So, I got out my Bible and reread the verse, and then (because God works that way) I read the entire chapter and found that it SO applies to our nation and world today. Not just because of the beauty of the Lord, but because of the faith he instills in us all. "Indeed the present world be shaken with the nations raging and the kingdoms of men tottering. We will not fear, since we know that God is our present help in the time of trouble. Come behold the works of the Lord."---All this because I wanted to write about spring! Don't you love the way God works?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sometimes Life Is Just A Blur.......

I knew I had not posted in a while and I was reminded of it by my good friend Sarah, but I really had NO idea how long until I ventured back into the blogging world tonight. Why has it been two months??????
I have no idea. I really enjoy getting on my blog and trying to think of things to write about. ACTUALLY, I get on here and have to limit my thoughts.
I will say though, in the two months time I have not been on here, I was not just sitting around. First, I ended my mother-of-the-ballplayer-career. That will be a whole other blog. I just need to be in the right frame of mind to write it. All year long Timbo and I were on what we called "The Farewell Tour". You will hear about it soon. Next, I gave state assessments. Now that is enough to stress out anyone!! My students did very well though and as the scores came in I could feel a LITERAL weight off my mind, shoulders and neck. So much emphasis are put on those tests and the teachers that give the tests. So those tests encompassed several stressful weeks of my life. Then, Tim and I got new jobs and resigned from our present jobs. NOTHING STRESSFUL THERE!!!! Tim got his job in Oklahoma first and then I interviewed in the same school system about a month later. They offered me the job on the spot and I think it all had to do with ----TESTING!! I am not kidding. They talked and talked about testing and how well my students had done over the last five years. Now, I must learn the Oklahoma test and disect it to a million pieces to teach the students. OK, so we got new jobs and resigned from our others. That was hard to do because the people at my school have been very very good to me. Then we had to begin house-hunting. Not only that we had to figure out what the youngest two boys were planning to do. Was their plan to go to Oklahoma with us or stay in Kansas? The answer to that went back and forth on a daily basis. At this moment, both are going with us.....But we all know that could change again a million times. It is so hard to look for a house when we didn't know what town to look in! It was so hard to look for a house when we had to look over the internet most of the time! It was so hard to look for a house when everything is SO expensive!! MY GOSH!!! More stress!! Then we began to clean out and pack up our house. Another OH MY!! We have lived in this monstrosity of a house for seventeen years and five children. Every nook and cranny of the four floors is filled with something. We have thrown away so much already. We have one whole room for a garage sale (that we scheduled and cancelled when it was SNOWING IN APRIL). So more stress....just trying to pack this house up. Then more stress figuring out who would want this house that needs work but has wonderful bones. And don't think there aren't a thousand different emotions churning along with every decision we make. We want to do what is right for the children, our parents and of course us; but there are so many factors weighing in on every decision. Don't forget I still get depressed everytime the weather won't cooperate. I just want warm weather so badly! So, that is what I have been doing for the past two months. I also have been just plodding along with my every day life and getting through each day. In the back of my mind I think about my diet. I have great moments/days/even multiple days in a row, then BAAAMMMM! I get stressed and immediately turn to food. I have to learn to find something else to turn to when I am stressed besides food...Which in turn gets me back to my blog. It is such a stress reliever to write. It is almost (almost being the key word) as good as chocolate. Why have I been away for two months????????? The good news: I'm back!

Monday, February 25, 2008

So Let The Game Begin!!

My sister, pictured here, is in on the diet now. Quite by accident she has become my competition. She has agreed to go on TV and tell all of OKC (and its outreaches) about her weight and let them join in watching her lose. She and several others in OKC, who are in various stages of overweightness (new word) are being filmed by the local Channel 4. They are also being provided with a personal trainer five days per week. The film crew is going to follow them for as long as it takes, to watch them lose their weight. The day began with them filming my sister at her house and filming her pantry. My sister is a mover and a shaker in OKC. She knows everyone and everyone knows her. For her to do this in front of everyone is very very brave! Now the term 'mover and shaker' is going to take on a whole new meaning! I think she may also be blogging about her experience. I am sure that too will be professional and superb. Don't forget about me and my amatuer hour please! So, quite without planning it, my sister and I are pitted against each other. This is a fact: you will never find two more competitive spirits than my sister and myself. Now everytime I want to be weak, I will just have to think of K. and her personal trainer and the fact that half of Oklahoma is watching her....and just pass up the temptation facing me. Let the game begin!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

LOVE isn't in the falling....it's in the staying there..

You know you have been married a long time when.................. you and your mate buy the same exact card for each other.......AND it wasn't even a Valentine's card!!! Or you know you are positively, absolutely, definitively SOUL MATES. It happened to Tim and me on Valentines. We both bought this (pictured on blog) card for each other. And the weirdest part is, that the card is not even a Valentine's Day card and it was not in the Valentine section. I bought mine about two or three weeks before Valentines and saved it. Tim bought his Valentines afternoon. When we exchanged presents and cards that evening, we were both surprised---a little. We tend to think alike on most subjects. (Except he LOVES TV and I LOVE books.) We tend to have the same ideas, and many, many times we will say or write the same things to each other without knowing the other has already said or written that. PLUS, it was a GREAT card. If you look close enough you can read it. The card pictured is actually a THIRD card I went back to Hallmark to purchase, so I could put an unmarked one on the blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyway the twin cards were better than the presents we exchanged....Just because the idea that we picked the very same card out of the hundreds and hundreds that are offered! How neat is that?????

The 'Large' family

Maybe it is not the BEST idea to follow up the eating healthy blog entry with one about the LARGE family, but that in fact is the sad truth of the matter!!  Pictured here is just a smidgen of the food I made for the family when we were celebrating Luke's Sweetheart night and ballgame.  I just couldn't resist putting them on the blog since I keep talking about eating healthy!
Obviously I had to make a lot of food.....just look at the boys I was trying to feed!  I love the picture of Ford with all the 'big boys'.  The funny part is not that he thinks he is cool being with the 'big boys', but he seems a little transfixed by pretty little Tiffany and her red dress.  I guess boys are boys at any age when they see a pretty girl!  

Now about the Large family:  We dubbed ourselves this quite accidentally.  "We" being my extended Ferguson family.  I have many, many cousins and we all tend to be very tall and 'big-boned' as we like to say.  "Good breeding" material as hubby likes to say!  Hearty stock.  Sturdy Scottish people.  As I said, I come from a 'large' family....as in many people.  We are a close knit family.  I have already talked about how we all used to spend every Sunday afternoon together at my grandparent's house.  We were a lucky family as well.  Three generations of my family had been deployed to different wars.  From WWI, WWII, the Korean Conflict through Viet Nam, we had family members deployed at each war.  These family members saw active duty and front line duty.  They all came home.  No women died during childbirth, no tragic accidents happened, no babies were stillborn.  No one in my family died until my grandparents did.  They were both in their late 90's when they died.  Tragically, that unbelievable streak of good luck ended on Halloween night 1991.  My cousin, Barb, was killed by a drunk driver that night.  We had never had to deal with tragedy before, but because we are such a close-knit family we immediately rallied around one another.  Although my  Dad had many nieces, he always had Barb at the top of his list.  She was feisty and talented and smart.  My Dad was asked to deliver the eulogy at Barb's funeral.  He, being the seasoned politician, was used to delivering speeches to all kinds of crowds.  That day found him struggling more than he thought he would.  When he got up to speak, he looked out at the family.  I'm telling you we are a big family (once again...number wise).  We can be imposing.  We take up an entire side of any given church.  And there we were.  The funeral was sad, as Barb was not quite forty and left behind two young sons, not to mention we had lived in our little utopian world where tragedy did not happen.  My dad's speech seemed to make us more sad as he talked about things we had all done as a family when Barb was there.  Then he said his now famous line.  I don't even really remember the exact words, but however it was that he said it, we ALL 

Trying to eat healthy!

I was making my lunch the other night (yes, I try and get it made the night before) and when I was finished I noticed how pretty the lunch actually was. Forget that the lunch is in a plastic container and a paper plate, it still LOOKS good. Don't get me wrong, I have never had any kind of problem eating food that doesn't LOOK good, but something about my lard-wired brain knows that this food is healthy and 'good for you', therefore the visual aspect is good too. I am still trying to stay in the 1200-1500 calorie per day routine. What I have here is a shredded lettuce salad with a little bit of cheese, some tomato and some spicy turkey breast. The fruit is a combination strawberries and grapes with a little (fake) sugar on top. (Zero calorie fake sugar I might add). When I go to the store now I am always looking at calorie counts and most importantly PER SERVING. The products often try to trip you up with the idea that the calorie count is low. Then you look at serving size and see that you usually have to double (or triple) that amount!!! This spicy turkey breast was 50 calories for two ounces. Once again I have to say that being on a diet is a lot of work. Not only the calorie awareness issue, but just the preparation of the food so that I am not rushed and grab something 'not so good' for me. This lunch is long gone and yes, it was delicious!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Cheaters Never Win

The chief cause of stress is reality!
Well Sunday I did not have a good diet day.  I was doing good through lunch.  I took moderate portions and did not go back for any seconds.  Then shortly after lunch I ate a roll that was left- over.  DURING lunch I had passed on the rolls.  (I know you're asking why I even made rolls.  I am wondering that too!).....Then from the roll I just went down hill.  I was ROLLing downhill in fact.  I was ROLLing downhill and gathering steam.   By evening I just decided since I had shot the day I might as well keep cheating.  (Where in the heck is the logic in that?)  BUT this is what I did discover:  On Monday I was starving all day.  I was back to my sensible diet and eating moderately and low-cal, but I was still starting.  (Even though my sense of logic is clearly askew) I figured out that I am starving because I cheated.  I went off my path on which I had been doing so well and ate lots of starches and carbs.  Then the next day nothing could satisfy me.  My body was obviously trying to tell me it wanted the starches and carbs again.  So today (as well as yesterday) I am still trying to convince my body, brain and psyche that I can survive on the moderate portions and low calories.  I guess that is what I get for cheating.  It is like starting over again!  But I am back on the wagon and trying again.  I am still anxious to get out and begin walking.  I think that would make me happier AND healthier.  I know I have been griping and moaning about the weather.  All of the bad weather really does affect my mood.   Then when I am in a terrible mood I eat to relieve my stress.  But I have decided that if it were July and I was at the pool everyday and loving life, I would probably eat because I was so happy!  I look for excuses to eat and I have to quit blaming the weather for my weak will. So here I am, tired and craving chocolate, but prepared to do whatever I need to lose the lard

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Enough is enough. Actually enough is TOO MUCH! This sun-lover is sick of the winter. I am tired of the cold. I am tired of shoveling out and tired of scraping ice. I am tired of slick walkways and slippery highways. I am tired of driving in and through the stuff. I am tired of the salt it leaves on the cars. I am tired of the mess it makes when it is tracked into the house. I am tired of the gray days. I am tired of the cold. I am tired of being tired of this. I am tired of the depression I feel when I watch the weather forecast. I am tired when I realize we are only in the early part of February and we could still be in store for many more weeks of cold and ice and snow. I am tired of not even being able to see the beauty in the snow because I hate it so much. I am tired of heating bills and bulky clothes. I am tired of not being able to let the animals stay outside for too long. I try to convince myself that winter is almost over then I watch the weather forecast and see more and more and more! How can February be the shortest month when it seems like the longest??????

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Why do I say 'one woman's battle to lose the LARD' instead of 'one woman's battle to lose the FAT' or 'one woman's battle to get skinny'? That's easy. LARD sounds disgusting. LARD is disgusting. Fat is somewhat acceptable. Getting skinny is very vogue. Trying to lose LARD is a gross thought. It has negative connotations. The idea of LARD being part of the body is disgusting. When you think of LARD you think of a big glob or gross fat. That is what being overweight is. So if I tell myself I am going to lose LARD, it puts a gross image in my mind and I DO want to get rid of it. If I think I want to lose the fat, then I psyche myself out that being 'fat' is not really that bad. If I think I want to get skinny, then I am just fooling myself completely. So, I want to lose the LARD.

LARD= Large And Round Dieter
LARD= Loose Ample Roly Dough (a/k/a my flesh!)
LARD= Love All Remarkable Desserts (sadly, I love ANY dessert, but I needed a 'D' word!)
LARD= Lucious and Ravishing Diva (someday I hope)

From Sarah:
LARD= Ladies Are Reducing Dimples (and that doesn't mean in their smile!)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Redbirds--Part II

  A year ago I developed what I thought was a sore throat.  It began on a Friday night at a football game.  Throughout the weekend it got progressively worse.  I tried self-medicating, but nothing seemed to help.  I spent a miserable Sunday night sitting up in bed while I tried to sleep.  If I laid down it felt like I was going to suffocate.  By the middle of that night I was having trouble breathing, swallowing and talking. Since I could barely speak, I even had Hubby make my phone call to work the next morning to say I was too sick to come in.  My voice was not hoarse like the common sore throat symptoms, but I could not get air to come up my throat to form words.  To be fair here--Hubby did say he would take me to the Emergency Room during the night, but I felt like I could tough it out until morning. When morning arrived, I went to the doctor's office without even making an appointment.  I was miserable and I wanted in to see the doctor and not wait around for an appointment.  I did get in pretty quickly, but it was not with my regular doctor, but with a PA in the practice.  (I have nothing against PA's as you will find out if you continue reading, but this one did not particularly cut it! )  He kind of felt around on my throat, announced that I had swelling in the area (real Einstein diagnosis there!) and told me I had a gorgeous tan.  Really.  He said that.  I tried to eek out the words that I could not talk, swallow or breathe.  Hmmmm.  Must be a bad sore throat he figured.  He would prescribe medicine. That was it.  I got my prescription and headed to the druggist only to find they didn't open for another hour.  So I just sat on the bench waiting for the druggist to get there.  I was too miserable to put myself back in my car and head back home and wait for the hour.  Finally the druggist got there.  It took her probably ten minutes or so to fill my prescription.  She called my name to come forward (from the line of drug-waiting-people) and I went up to be 'counseled' on the drug.  The pharmacist asked me what it was I needed the medicine for.  Once again I eeked out in the tiny whispers I could get out, that I could not breathe, swallow or talk and there was something wrong with my throat.  She furrowed her brow and I knew the look was not the one I wanted to see.  Then she showed me the pills. To begin with , they were very large.  (Remember I am the one that could not swallow (or breathe or talk)......because I could not get the AIR to do that.  Secondly, she told me that the pill the PA had prescribed for me was very, very horrible tasting.  She told me that I needed to take lots and lots of water with the pill so that if I was lucky I wouldn't get the bad taste in my mouth.  I tried to remind her again that I could not swallow----water, pill or otherwise.  She wondered why the PA had prescribed such an ugly tasting drug--and in pill form---but she wished me good luck.  I made it out to my car and dragged myself home.  Once I got home I put one pill on the cabinet and looked at it.  It looked foreboding.  I felt so miserable tho that I knew I needed to get that pill down--and eventually the others--in order to feel better.  So I tried.  I put the pill on my tongue and took a swallow (the best I could) of apple juice to get the pill down.  It didn't work.  The pill got stuck.  Right in the middle of my throat.  I hurriedly tried to get more juice down in my throat, but nothing would go down.  I began coughing and sputtering and trying to get the pill back up.  This whole time, which actually seemed like a LONG time, this pill was leaving the most rancid taste in my mouth.  Finally I got the pill back up and out of my mouth.  (The taste did not go away for hours. Literally.)  By this time I was wiped out and I dragged myself to my bed.  There I collapsed in my sitting/laying/part way up/part way limp position surrounded by pillows.  I was laying there with my eyes shut trying to recover from the pill episode, trying to breathe and trying to swallow when I heard the chirping.  If you have ever heard a redbird chirp, you know they have a very distinct chirp.  The chirps got louder and louder.  The window right beside my bed was slightly open so I could hear the bird(s) easily.  I raised up and moved the curtain over so I could see out the window.  Right there in the snowball bush that touches the window beside my side of the bed were the redbirds.  The pair.  Both were chirping.  Pop and Grammie were there to watch out for me.  I took the curtain and fixed it to stay back then once again collapsed onto the pillows.  I just laid there and watched as the redbird pair flitted about the snowball bush.  The rest of the day I laid there trying to just get through the day.  The redbird pair left and came back, left and came back.  Each time they came back they announced their presence with their loud song.  To be fair again, when Hubby got home he tried again to take me to the Emergency Room but once again I thought I was too tough for that nonsense.  I made it through another night.  If I needed to talk to anyone, even if they were right beside me, I would snap my fingers.  Once I had their attention I would have to write out what I wanted to say.  I was going downhill and going downhill fast.  The next morning I once again went to the doctor.  This time I wrote out my message.  I needed help and I refused to see the guy they had given me the day before.  By this time I had a fever and the upper part of my chest, right below my throat, was visibly swollen.  I guess the receptionists could see I was miserable, so they sent me back to see another PA.  Apparently the morning walk-in clinic is run by the PA's.  The doctor's come in later, but my impatience kept me from waiting till 'later'!  Well the PA on the second day was a female.  I had used this PA before and as soon as she saw me in the exam room she commented on the fact that she knew I would not be in there if I was not feeling really sick.  I kind of shook my head at her and once again eeked out the fact I could not talk, breathe or swallow.  I pulled the neck of my shirt down and showed her how my throat and upper chest were swollen.  Her face was visibly shocked when I showed her the swelling.  She asked me how long this had been going on.  I told her (or tried to whisper) the entire story, including my previous day's visit where my tan got more attention than my throat, and how I had almost chocked to death on the horrible pill.  She looked inside my mouth, but mainly felt my throat. It took her only a minute then said she was calling the hospital.  She had me admitted to the hospital for x-ray's and an MRI on my throat and chest.  But first she wanted to get some of the swelling down because she thought this would help me breathe easier.  She said she thought she knew what the problem could be but she was going to have to do some research on it while I was having my tests and IV's in the hospital. I went to the hospital which was only about half a block away.  They were waiting on me and hooked me up to IV's.  I got some kind of antibiotic and three bags of Prednisone.  The Prednisone was to help with the swelling.  They could not do x-rays or the MRI until the swelling went down because I needed to lay flat to have both done.  When I laid flat I really did begin to suffocate, so the IV's were necessary to get the other done. After about an hour, I could begin to tell that I could breathe a little easier.  I still was not breathing normally, but it was much, much better.  I was hooked up to IV's for about two hours, then they asked me if I could lay flat.  I thought that I (probably) could and agreed to try. We did the x-ray's first.  Then they gave me a break and finally we did the MRI.  Then at the last minute they threw in a CAT scan.  The CAT scan was the hardest, as I was put in 'the tube' where you literally cannot move at all.  I was scared I was going to have a panic attack if I got inside the tube and could not breathe, but the Prednisone continued to make the swelling go down and I managed all the tests.  The hospital then sent me home with more meds to take and told me to wait for the doctor to call.  After that exhausting morning (and early afternoon) I got back home and went straight to bed.  I was breathing easier so it was so much easier to rest.  I had not been in my bed over a minute when the Redbirds came back to visit.  They were chirping louder than ever.  It was like they knew I had been gone and they wanted to be sure I knew they were there.  To finish this long story, the Redbirds stayed with me again that day.  The PA called back and said I had something called a Thyroglossal Duct Cyst.  It was a growth in my throat that I never knew I had.  Over the weekend and the beginning of the week it had just exploded in size, which caused the difficulty in breathing, swallowing and talking.  The growth was pushing against my voice box and taking up all the room in my throat!  It was a very rare deal and they had only seen one other case of it. (That STILL does not excuse the 'great tan' attention instead of worrying about my throat!)  The (second) PA was very kind, telling me everything she could find out about it.  She made me an appointment in Topeka to see a throat specialist for the first thing the next morning.  Once I saw that guy, he put me on more meds for about a week. He wanted to get the swelling down as much as possible before they went in and surgically removed the growth.  I had to take three pills three times a day!  It was still hard to swallow, but the swelling had gone down enough that I could get the pills down.  About a week later  I had the surgery in Topeka to remove the Thyroglossal Duct Cyst.  I missed work the entire week recovering from the surgery and trying to get my voice back.  The entire week I was home I was visited by the Redbirds.  They did not camp out outside my window like they had the first two days of my illness, but they visited throughout the week.  They made appearances, always announcing their arrival with their loud noisy chirping.  Because it was early autumn the windows were open at my house and I could always hear them arrive.  I always acknowledged them and they always flitted about for an hour or so then would leave.  While a lot of people would doubt the birds were anything other than redbirds, I have no doubt who they were.  After I got better and went back to school the redbirds were no longer around.  They didn't come visit in the afternoon when I got home and they were not there on the weekends.  The pair of redbirds were there when I needed them.  On the days when I was very sick, they stayed right beside my window.  On the days when I was recovering, they made their daily trek to check up on me.  I am a believer in the redbirds.  I know who they are and why they visit!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Redbirds

Use what talents you possess; the world would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. --Henry Van Dyke

When I was growing up we made (at least) weekly trips to see my grandparents who lived in a little town about 21 miles from us. Many times the trip would take place on a Sunday after church. Also at my grandparents house would be my many, many cousins and my aunts and uncles. The Sunday afternoons we spent eating and playing at my grandparents with cousins and extended family are like little treasures in my mind. It takes just something little to remind me of those days when life was pretty near perfect. Even when we would go to my grandparent's house on days other than those perfect Sunday's, we always found something special to do. On the non-Sunday's when we would arrive, more often than not at least one, if not both, of my grandparents would be seated at the kitchen table. They might be eating or reading the daily paper, looking through mail or seed and flower catalogs, or discussing the price of cattle and wheat. While most friends that I knew called their grandparents the norm, such as "grandma and grandpa", we called ours Pop and Grammie. Grammie and Pop. I can see them sitting at that kitchen table even now as I type this. The kitchen table was round and was placed in front of a huge window that looked out at the woods behind their house. On the window sill of this big window were various books that showed pictures of birds and gave brief descriptions and traits of the different species. The books were well worn. Pop and Grammie could name every bird that flitted through their back yard. Many of the birds were like pets, as they came to the window on a regular basis. Pop and Grammie would tell us stories about the various birds that came to visit. Of course, there was always food in several bird feeders to keep their feathered friends happy. This was such a normal everyday routine watching Pop and Grammie at that kitchen table, talking about their normal everyday routine, that it could easily be forgotten in the recesses of my mind, but instead it is in the Treasured Memories part of my brain. Part of that is fostered by Pop and Grammie themselves. They will not let me forget. It seemed that Pop and Grammie were especially fond of watching the redbirds; usually pairs of redbirds. They loved watching out for the beautiful and elegant cardinal male with his bright red feathers, and his mate, the equally lovely tan cardinal with just the touches of subtle red. In the vast woods that was my grandparents backyard, the redbird easily stood out with his brilliant red plumes. You knew that as soon as you found the male, the female had to be close by. That was like my Pop and Grammie. They were never far apart from each other. Somehow, in my young mind, I related those pairs of redbirds I would see to my Pop and Grammie. It became that when I saw redbirds I instantly thought of Pop and Grammie. As I got older, instead of separating the two thoughts, that one was a set of birds and one was a set of grandparents, it became even more connected in my brain. To this day, I see redbirds---always a pair---- and I KNOW that it IS my Pop and Grammie coming to check on me or coming for a visit. I know that sounds crazy to most, but the times the redbird couples come to my house are always too significant to be just a coincidence. The redbird I have pictured on my blog page is the male that came to visit on Christmas morning several years ago. All five children were home and it was just the seven of us. It was a wonderful Christmas, filled with love and laughter and lots and lots of tradition passed on through my parents and grandparents. We were even using dishes and tablecloths that had been my Grammie's. It was bitterly cold outside, as it always is in northeast Kansas in late December. It was not fit for man nor beast--nor bird-- outside, but as we are sitting at OUR kitchen table eating Christmas brunch I look outside and there are Pop and Grammie----as a redbird couple. My Grammie and Pop had both died years earlier, so my eyes immediately fill with tears because I KNOW that it was their way of paying a visit to me on Christmas morning and checking on my little family. They came right up to the window and stayed for a long, long time. I ran to get the camera, scared they would leave, but even when I went outside they still did not fly away. It was like they agreed to pose for the picture. I called my dad (who is the son of the grandparents I loved so) and told him that Pop and Grammie had come to visit me on Christmas morning. I told him what had happened and he too thought I had been given a visit by Grammie and Pop. My Dad, the one who prides himself on his logic and sensible thought, totally agreed with me that Pop and Grammie had paid me a Christmas morning visit! How happy they must have been that items from their many Christmases together were still being used the same way by two more generations of family.  They stayed for a while before flying away. I felt both sadness and happiness that morning. I was sad for a moment wishing I could have that 'one more day' with my grandparents, but very happy that I knew they had come to visit and let me know that they still think of me.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Cabin Fever

I have cabin fever so bad!  My hubby has cabin fever as bad or worse than me!  My dog and cat have cabin fever worse than any of us!  The boys have it too, although they are still young enough to brave the elements and venture out at all hours.  It seems like we have been trapped inside for weeks on end.  It seems that way, BECAUSE WE HAVE!  My yard has had ice or snow or both on it since December 3.  The streets in town have also been covered or somewhat covered since then. The cold is so cold that it even hurts my teeth.  I am not asking for tropical weather (yes, I actually am).  I just want it so that we can let the animals out; we can take walks; we don't have to worry about falling and getting hurt on the ice.  I will take cold, I just can't take this bone-crusher cold with snow and ice under my feet.  I am ready to take my dog out walking and try to get back into shape.  I am hoping at some point I can look back at this and say, "Hey, I not only dieted, but I started in the middle of winter and I beat the lard and the weather!"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Empty Calories

Did you know they make Monster drinks that are 32 oz.?  Really, what is the point of that?  Can you imagine how hyped the person would be after they drink the entire thing?  Then think how hard that person would crash after the drink wears off!!  I had a student today that had just finished his 32 oz. Monster drink.  In class....a classroom with four walls....and other students.  Oh my gosh!!!! So, I was curious about the drink.  I looked at the can and it has 100 calories----PER SERVING!  And the can is equal to four servings!!  

I have started paying attention to calories and the sugars and fats from those calories.  I think that I have spent a great deal of my life eating a lot of empty calories.  There are so many that add up so quickly that we don't realize.  Drinks (see above!!) for one.  Butter and salad dressing and cheese added to things.  These are the things that I am trying to pay attention to.  Another one of my friends lost 5 1/2 pounds last week.  The pressure is on for me to lose!  I think I am going to have to break down and find a scale that will weigh me so I'll at least know of my progress.  That's enough to send me straight to the fridge!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A lot of work for a little food!

It is a lot of work to eat a little!! Really, it is. Instead of just going to the fridge or the cabinet to get something to eat, I really have to think about what I am going to eat--and how much. I can't just grab a handful of cookies or a pop. I have to think about calories and fats (and getting fatter!) and if and when I should eat. I have been trying to keep fruits and snacky kinds of veggies ready in the fridge so that I have no excuses to go for anything else. I have cheeses sliced in there too (so I won't have the large pieces) instead only small bite size bites. I have to plan out my lunch and my breakfast and not wait till the last minute. Usually, I would just think about it on my way out the door to work, so I would grab what was ever convenient. Eating a little is all about planning ahead and making it easier on myself in the long run. It is cutting and sorting and making up baggies of nutrious snacks so that I am not tempted to eat the readily available Not For Me food. I have also begun to use the little trick of buying the boys any type of snack food that I am not tempted by. Yes, there really are those (rare) kind. I am trying. One week into this thing and I am still going! One of my friends has already lost 7 1/2 pounds. Wow. I have to do well, just to keep up with her! Tomorrow begins Week Two. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Day Three

I won't keep up this day one, two three stuff as titles much longer. I'll probably keep it going for a week, then try and come up with some kind of a catchy phrase...and I won't feel the need to blog each and every night. We made it through day three tho. My little lettuce wraps were actually pretty good. My Special K bars were good too.........but they are SO darn small!!!!! For my chocolate fix tonight I made sugar free chocolate pudding with skim milk and then topped it off with fat free cool whip. It's amazing when you are 72 hours chocolate deprived how good that can taste! I am really starting to realize how many calories goes into everything. Obviously, all the foods I like are huge in calories. I noticed even those little bitsy tiny Special K bars I was talking about are 80 calories each. My gosh!!! My little tubs of yogurt are 80 calories each. Each slice of cheese is 80 calories!! That is why I just cut one in half for my lettuce wraps. Salad dressing is something like 20 calories per tablespoon. All these little 80 calories here and 90 calories there really add up. I know that I have cut my calories down significantly, but I am sure there is much more I can do. Well, day three down. I'll just keep taking it one day and one pound at a time. :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Day Two

Day Two is under my (very large) belt. WOOHOO. Two days. The bad news: I did not walk today. I had a basketball game shortly after I got home and there was not time to walk. Then we had the game and by the time I got home it was dark and cold. Sounds like a bunch of excuses, huh? Tomorrow they are calling for snow and more snow. I just hope I can make it home! I don't know about the walking. I will wait and see what tomorrow brings. Timbo and I did go to the store tonight. It took us forever to get groceries. We read labels and tried to come up with new and creative food choices. I think we have some good ideas. Most of all, we need to eat in moderation and quit eating such big helpings. I tried today to use a very small fruit type bowl and also a salad plate. They don't hold as much and I have told myself that I cannot go back for seconds. I made my lunch for tomorrow ---and breakfast---and I have it all out/or in the icebox waiting for me. For breakfast I am just trying a new breakfast bar. I am not sure yet what I am going to do about breakfast in the long term. For lunch I made myself lettuce wraps. I took a leaf of lettuce, a piece of sliced turkey (from the deli) and half a piece of cheese. I rolled these up together, put a toothpick in it and that is my lunch tomorrow. They actually look pretty good too. I also have a banana yogurt. Hopefully that will feel like dessert. I notice today that the chocolate attack is starting to creep in. When it has today, I just found something else to do and tried to redirect my mind. When I was checking out at the grocery store tonight, I saw a guy there that used to be huge. I mean really really huge. He has lost SO much weight. He is half of his old self. Once again I think God put him there for me to draw inspiration. OK, I am ready to begin Day Three.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Day ONE----The fight against LARD begins

January 14, 2008.
Today was D day.....as in DIET day. It's a day I've begun a million other times. This time I MUST do it. Yesterday was my 48th birthday. FORTY EIGHT YEARS old. When in the heck did I get so old? I don't want to be old and fat. Both are controllable factors. Both are head games. I always win head games, so I am on a mission to win this one. This is the new twist on my diet. I will write about it. If it is out there for everyone to see, then perhaps I will be more accountable. I have friends that are joining me in this journey. I have my husband that is willing to join in too. With all that support I have no reason to fail. My first goal: Lose 25 pounds by Spring Break. I realize that twenty pounds is more realistic, but I will be happy with anything between 20-25 pounds. I will find a way to reward myself along the way....with anything BUT food. I already have a few things in mind: an MP3 player, a new fancy phone, regular pedicures, new shoes..........(list to be continued). I think blogging, having two very very good friends and the besthusbandintheworld in on this will make it SO much better. When I got home from school tonight it was about 25 degrees. I was already trying to talk myself out of exercising. I kept telling myself the hardest part was just beginning. Finally I said aloud, "Ike, you want to go on a walk?" Anyone that has ever seen the euphoria of a puppy that gets asked to go on a walk knows there is no turning back then. Ike was happy hoppy all over the place. He got his leash and was going crazy waiting on me to get my shoes on. I finally bundled up and off we went. I was right. Once out there, it was great...... Ike and me and the great frozen tundra. We walked quite a ways for our first night. Now I need to do it all over again tomorrow. I did not weigh today. I have no idea what my 'starting weight' is. I am almost ....no strike that...I AM scared to know. It would be enough to send me to the biggest batch of chocolate I could find! I probably need a cattle scale to weigh me anyway. So, at some point I will weigh...just not yet. Oh yeah, one more thing: Today when I got home from school I turned the TV on and Oprah was on. I rarely get home and Oprah is still on. If I do, I am ususally too busy to watch. But today's program was about beginning a diet program. I figured that was God's way of telling me to get with it and JUST DO IT. I plan to be Great in'08 too. So that is how my first day began....in the battle against LARD.