Monday, June 30, 2008

Deadliest Catch

Mr. Macchiato's brother is a fisherman. So, there is Fisherman Bro and Chef Bro... and just one sister who I will call Brown Eyes. Fisherman Bro lives out on Whidbey Island in a big house on a golf course. They also have an adorable little cabin right on the beach. Fisherman Bro does most of his fishing up in Alaska but he has a little boat down on the island that he uses for some local fishing. We happened to come at just the right time because there was a little 3 day crab opener teaser last week. Crab season doesn't actually start until October 1st. Fisherman Bro gave Mr. Macchiato and Double Shot a big thrill by having them come along with him to do some crabbing. I should have given Mr. Macchiato my camera but... I was afraid something would happen to it.


The Marina where Fisherman Bro docks his boat.


His boat is back where you can't really see it.

That wall there is just feet from the cabin's back deck. The tide is in here so the water comes up almost to the top of the wall. When the tide is out there is a good bit of beach that I'll share pictures of in another post.
Here are the fearless crabbers swinging by the cabin for a quick hello. They'd already been out for a couple of hours and had put out the pots. I think it is pots... isn't it? It might be pods. I don't know. I think it is pots. Hmmmmm... maybe I should get my ears cleaned out.
Now get on back out there and catch some crab!
**Note: Mr. Macchiato pointed out to me that the identification number for Fisherman Bro's boat was visible so I had to delete several of the pictures from this post.

Where Did We Go?

We went home to Seattle to visit our families! No one actually lives in Seattle anymore... or Bellevue for that matter. Both of our families lived in Bellevue when we met and later married. Chai Tea was also born in Bellevue on a wintery Valentine's Day night in 1989.

We took our trailer and camped out along the way. Benny and Lu Lu came along for the ride, but Paco, the terrorist, had to stay home. He was not happy about it. Not one bit. We drove up through Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Oregon and then into Washington. My mother lives out in the country southeast of Olympia. We stayed in two different campgrounds while we were there and then ran around visiting from them. On our way home we took a different route out through Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and then back down through Colorado. We may or may not have gone through Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons... okay, we did. And I took A LOT of pictures!


This is part of the campground we stayed in first. It is out on Lake Offut and the campground has been there since 1939! It is not too far from my mom's house.


They had boats you could rent. We didn't because we were busy visiting, but we did go walk around. Lake Offut is not terribly big, but a good size. Definitely more lake than we've got anywhere near home. That's Frappy walking on the dock.

This is the little Lakehouse that is part of our "Resort" campground. I suppose back in 1939 it was pretty nice. It kind of gave me the creeps.



All in all, it was very pretty.


This is Puget Sound and was taken from the Redondo Boardwalk. Mr. Macchiato's little brother lives near there. He hosted a wonderful barbeque at his house and all of Mr. Macchiato's siblings were there. Mr. Macchiato's little brother is a chef at a very upscale restaurant in Seattle.

Benny and Lu Lu had never seen that much water before. They got to smell all kinds of new smells!

The tide was in so we didn't get to walk on the beach.

It. Was. Beautiful.
**Note: I do not have photoshop and know absolutely nothing about touching up photos... I have to get one of my kids to crop something for me when I want to do that! All of my photos are straight from the camera and the colors you see are the colors that I saw.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

We Was gOnE on VaCaTiOn!!!

We went on a Road Trip!!!
But, we are not going to discuss gas prices or the fact that many gas stations cut you off at $75... nope, not gonna mention that... nope, nope, NOPE.


Frappacino Sleeping
Too bad her brother has a cell phone with a camera...
And her boyfriend's number.
She was not a happy camper when she found out!

We saw lots of stuff...
Like roads, and sky and land...
and this train.


And... big giant rocks.

And... rivers...

This here is the Columbia River
That there on the other side is Washington State...
We were driving on the Oregon side.
So... Where Did We Go? What Did We Do?
Who Did We See?
I'll be filling y'all in on the details this week! Right now, I am POOPED!!!
I've got my own big bed with crisp clean sheets calling my name!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

What Ever Happened To...

Lifesaver Rolls? Why can't I find any? Do they make them anymore? What is with the bags of lifesavers with them all individually wrapped? Where are the butter rum lifesavers? The cherry lifesavers? The tangerine lifesavers? When did this happen???

When did they stop making Jolly Rancher sticks? Do they even make those anymore? Not that I care that much about that. The little individual candies are better in that case... but, still... When did that happen?

And what ever happened to Koogle Peanut Butter? Does anyone out there remember Koogle Peanut Butter? I loved it when I was a kid! They had cinnamon peanut butter, banana peanut butter, and chocolate peanut butter. We had it in El Paso, Texas. Is it only a Texas thing? I can't remember ever having it after I turned 8 or 9. My mom says she thinks they stopped making it back then. Why? Why would they ever stop making that?

If anyone has the answers... please tell me.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lynn's Story

When I decided to make the video of myself talking and post it on this blog for Dystonia Awareness Week it was already a few days into the week. During that week I spent some time on other Dystonia message boards and learned that I really only know about Spasmodic Dysphonia. There are so many other areas affected by Dystonia. I asked if anyone would be willing to share their stories on my blog. I've gotten a very good response and am going to feature on person a week for as long as I can. The following was sent to me by Lynn.

Benign Essential Blepharospasm (BEB) is a dystonia that affects the eyelids, causing excessively forceful blinking that renders the patient functionally blind for short periods of time; just long enough to drive a car into an accident or fall down a flight of stairs. As it is quite rare (about 1 in 20,000 have the condition), very few medical people are adequately trained or experienced enough to deal with it. I personally don't know of a single General Practice physician who has ever recognized or treated a single case of BEB. A Neurologist, Ophthalmologist, or Movement Disorder Specialist is most likely to provide a viable diagnosis. Even they do not know of a cure for BEB, although a patient can get considerable relief.

I have had BEB since about 1960. At first I was completely puzzled about what it was and how I came to have it (I still don't really know that) and I got no help from any of the people whom I asked for information. It showed up initially while I was bowling: I would pick up my bowling ball, take my position at the head of the bowling alley, and wait several minutes for my eyes to open far enough to see the pins. Have you ever tried to open your eyes with your fingers while holding a 16-pound bowling ball? It doesn't work well at all.

My doctor gave me an initial, tentative diagnosis of some sort of psychological aberration, for which I should go to a shrink. I did, and nothing changed. I tried that avenue a second and yet a third time, with no change in the state of anyone's knowledge. This went on for 30 years -- no help. No one had ever seen it before, nor knew what to do about it. I even got an opinion from my dentist – no worse than any of the others I got.

Looking back on my experience, I realize that I had met another man in much the same condition -- stumbling along the edges of walls to and from his office, blinking and mumbling to himself -- and I didn't then recognize him as someone with a variant of my own condition. I had no idea what I looked like to him or anyone else.

However, I was still working as a Computer Scientist/Software Engineer, for several companies, even though I soon gave up driving as too risky and stressful.

Finally, my fourth psychiatrist noticed my constant blinking and spasms and had, by chance, run across an article in a Psych journal about BEB. He suggested that we explore this idea and started me on treatments with a series of prescription drugs -- everything that had yet been suggested might combat this weird dystonia. Finally able to hang a name on my disease, I gladly went along with the endless trials of new prescriptions. But none of them did anything for me -- some had really objectionable side effects, most simply didn't do what I needed. Finally we turned to what we believed was our last resort, a toxin (of all things!), Botox, that had just been approved by the FDA for a related condition, cross-eyedness.

So we set up an appointment at Mass Eye & Ear, the famous hospital in the Boston/Cambridge area, to confirm my diagnosis and find a doctor to administer the Botox shots. The shooter was Dr. Gary Borodic. While he had far more experience with Botox than anyone else in the Boston area, he was still in experimentation mode. (I think my first dose was 90 MU, total, over 18 sites.) Even so, the results were far beyond any expectations I had, and I felt sure that, in 1990, we had the right solution at last. After the second set of shots, I said a grateful Goodbye to the Pysch and moved on.

We did have the right solution, although there was still a lot to learn. Over the next three years, we continued to learn about how much Botox to use and where to put the shots and how frequently I would need treatment. (By then I had moved to the DC area and was being treated by Dr. Neil Miller in Baltimore.) Since I believe every patient's answers to these questions are different, I give you this data not for comparison's sake but as a suggestion that anyone's opinions about YOUR treatment parameters may be wrong. Or Very right.

I was injected last week. My doctor and I agree that I regularly get, every few months:
1) Five shots per eye; three above the browline, one at each end of the upper lid.
2) 5 MU per browline shot, 2.5 MU for each upper lid shot. (40 MU total)
3) The pattern repeated when needed (every 6 months, which is exceptionally long.)

Am I nervous about getting these shots? Not at all. By now I welcome them. Are they painful? Two of them on each side are very painful (inner end of upper lid, center of browline, in the fatty tissue). But that is a small price to pay for another six month's relief from the spasms that I know will come if I don't get the shots. Especially since I know from experience that the pain will be gone by the time I leave the Dr's office.

Over time, I have learned what I look like to others during my spasms, and more important, what others' spasms typically look like, and I am no wallflower when I have the opportunity to help someone else understand what they are going through and feeling. I have run into perhaps 4-5 new sufferers every year, plus many more who stumble across the BEB Research Foundation's website, Blepharospasm.org and its Bulletin Board, and always talk or write to them about their condition. Almost always they start with no idea what's going on, and welcome the new information, especially when I can give them an expert's contact information (which by the way, is available through that website.)

Thank you Lynn for sharing your story!!! Please leave Lynn a comment!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Boy Oh Boy...

Do you ever have days where all your plans get torpedoed every time you turn around?

Do you ever have days where your main form of sustenance comes in the form of a non-fat caramel macchiato with two extra shots of espresso and extra caramel over ice?

Did you know that shots to go overseas can cost $404.95? Of course, that includes a special anti-diarrheal pack, malaria pills, deet cream and a 18 page individualized disease listing for all the countries Frappacino will be visiting. Oh... and a thrilling video seen in the Passport Health office detailing what not to do. The highlight was the somewhat unattractive middle aged man acting out stomach pain due to traveler's diarrhea. I am afraid Frappacino will not eat, drink or breathe while she is gone. I wouldn't.

Have you ever taken your dog to be groomed and have her take a big dump in the back seat of your car on the way home and not be able to roll down the windows because the dog is dumb and would try to jump out? Yeah, well that's enough about that.

What kind of days have y'all been having?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Very Important! For Stephanie!

Dear Stephanie near Toronto,

I want you to know that I got your e-mail and that I have tried to respond to it several times but it keeps getting kicked back as undeliverable. It is important to me that you know that I read it and I have not ignored you. I don't have any answers for you in your situation, but I would like to be there for you to listen. Please e-mail me again.

coffeebeankel@earthlink.net

I've Been Tagged!!!

Sheri over at Life, Love, and Other Drama, has tagged me.

First the rules:

1. Link back to the person that tagged you.
2. List the rules.
3. Share 6 important things about yourself.
4. Tag 4 people at the end of your entry.

Six Important Things About Myself

1. I love ice cream but it doesn't love me.

2. It creeps me out when people I don't know touch me... unless it is a child.

3. I hate doing laundry. It just never ends.

4. I am almost always way early when I go places... except for church on Sunday mornings, in which case, we are usually there a few minutes before things start. At the mere thought of being late somewhere, I break out in hives. Not really. But, I do get upset.

5. I love windy days.

6. I don't always play by the rules. The only important thing about me in the previous 5 things is that I am lactose intolerant. And that is only important if you invite me over to your house and feed me ice cream. Because I love ice cream and I will eat it. And then we will all be sorry.

I am also not going to tag four people. I say if you read this and you want to participate... Go For It!!! Let me know in the comments so I can go check ya out... and so the other people that read the comments can check you out.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Grandma's Doll House

Oh boy... I got an e-mail from an aunt wanting to know if my cousin can have the doll house my Grandma built for her young daughters... I knew that someday I'd have to tell what happened to it.

My Grandma was a crafty person. She always had projects going. Some of the stuff she made was a bit crazy. Like the year she made everyone trains. Mine was on a styrofoam platform with purple ribbon around it. It had places to put my necklaces, earrings, bracelets and hair stuff. Most of the train was styrofoam too. And it was big. It took up most of the top of my dresser. She also made afghans, crocheted twirly legged things with doll and clown faces, weird naked things she made out of stuffed nylons with dimpled behinds that she put on blocks of wood. I still have the one she made me when I graduated from high school. It is wearing a cap and tassle and says 1984 on the wood.

My Grandma had a stroke in either late 1989 or 1990. My uncle, her youngest son, killed himself on July 4, 1989. He jumped off of the Corondado Bridge in San Diego. She was heart broken. She was paralyzed on one side and spent the next ten years in a nursing home.

For much of that time her house was just locked up with all of her things inside. When the time came that it could no longer be kept, my aunts went through and took what they wanted and then had us grandkids do the same. I took mainly kitchen stuff. No one wanted to take Grandma's big doll house. She'd worked on it for a long time and hadn't completed it. We had just bought our first house so my aunt asked if I would take it. Like I said, it was really big and I did not want to take it if there was anyone else that wanted it.

When we moved from California to Mississippi, we moved into a smaller house. We could no longer keep the doll house on the big table my Grandma had. It was a butcher block type table that had wheels on it. She had it on that table so that she could work on it while standing. It helped to keep the kids out of it unless I was with them and they were standing on chairs. The kids were a bit older so we decided to put it on our large coffee table. It just fit. We kept it on that for several years, first against the wall in the living room and then later in the girls' room.

My Grandma had used a glue gun when she put it together and shortly after we got it, pieces started falling off. The glue was just dried out and brittle. She had also had a particle board platform made that she glued the house down onto that no longer held. I would make little repairs here and there but when all the porch posts came off I just put them to the side and thought I'd tackle that sometime in the future. I didn't quite know what to do with the house.

When we moved to Mississippi, the movers made a special crate for the doll house. We did not save it because we just did not have room. After three years we moved into a much bigger house. There was some wear and tear from the kids along with the fact it was falling apart... like the fact that my oldest decided it should have an address and put one next to the front door in black crayon.

Then we moved to Colorado. We requested that the moving company make another crate for the doll house. It was a different moving company and they just sent out a large box that was twice the size of the doll house and put it in that. We were not happy about it but there was nothing we could do at that point. When we unpacked we found that the tower had twisted and splintered away from the main portion of the house and there was no way to fix it. We filed a claim. The mover had noted the missing porch and shingles and the fact that it was loose from the base. They gave us a check for less than $100. Money couldn't fix it though.

We kept the doll house in the basement for several years. The glue holding it all together continued to deteriorate. It took up a huge amount of space since we put it back on its original rolling table. As much as I hated to... we ended up getting rid of it. It made me sick to do it but the fact was that it was falling apart and had been damaged beyond repair. I never did finish it by painting it or adding the doors.

So... I got the e-mail from my aunt this morning wanting it for her grandkids. I had to tell her it is gone. I feel sick about it. I did keep the furniture and dolls. I guess I'll send those if she wants. Mr. Macchiato isn't sympathetic because no one else wanted it 13 years ago. We hauled that thing through three moves... two of them major cross country moves, and it just didn't make it. There's nothing I can do. But, I still feel bad.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Worst Date Ever

I met Mr. Macchiato when I was 19 and he was 20, so I don't have a long dating history prior to him. I did go on some pretty bad dates though. My absolute worst date ever though, has to be the time I went out with a guy that I cannot even remember the name of now.

I was 18 and we were living in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania, on a tiny Army depot. There were seven bars in that town and an old time general store. That's it. Thankfully, the depot had a commissary. Otherwise it was a bit of a drive to the nearest A & P. My Dad was a Recruiter and (okay... my Dad is going to give me a hard time because... well, I'm really not sure what all he did because he was just my old Dad, even though he was only 38, and I didn't pay much attention) he went from recruiting station to recruiting station... I think it was Wilkes Barre, Stroudsburg and Scranton. He was kind of the Big Dog Recruiter. He also had to go to Harrisburg quite often. He had to deal with some weird recruiters, but that is a story for another day. Today, I just want to talk about my worst date ever.

We were actually getting ready to move. My Dad decided to retire after that horrible year... again, another story for another day. My family had been invited to dinner at another family's house. A family I regularly babysat for. I'd been asked out on a date by a guy I knew from work. I didn't really like him. I don't know why I agreed. Oh my gosh! I just remembered his name. It was Aaron. Oh! And I just remembered he wrote me a couple of letters after we moved away. He could not spell at all. Anyway, everyone was outside when he pulled up in this junker car. It was kind of the style of the Dukes of Hazard type car only a different color... I don't know what the color it was because of all the rust. My parents' mouths were agape as they stood there in horror as we drove away.

First he took me to this old lady's house. We sat in her front room with her for quite awhile. She had 8x10 photos of her dead Chihuahua on either side of the urn holding its ashes on top of her TV set. Jeopardy was on.

Then he took me to pick up his loser uncle. I know his uncle was a loser because he was in his thirties and hanging out with us on Friday night. Six months before I wouldn't have realized that but I learned a lot after dating the Chaplain's assistant. He was 26 and his name was Phil. I thought I was hot stuff because he liked me. Then he got caught stealing money from the collection plate at church. He also borrowed money from me and never actually took me on a real date in a car. Why? He didn't have a car. He never paid me back either.

So, Aaron (I cannot believe I remembered his name!) and his loser uncle took me to a party in the woods. I'm not joking. There was a big bonfire and beer. The loser uncle bought it. There had to be 25-30 kids there, most of which were still in high school. I was mortified. Apparently, Aaron brought me there to rub it in to some girl and it worked. Four or so girls spent that time giving me the big stink eye. Believe me, I wished I'd stayed home and gone to that other family's house for dinner. I asked Aaron to take me home no less than 25 times.

Once we finally got on our way, the loser uncle said he wanted to be taken home. I don't know why he he had to have his 18 year old nephew drive him around but... he didn't have a car and he probably was on parole or something. Probably for buying under aged kids booze.

I was anxious to get home but while driving down a dark country road we got a flat. For real. There were no street lights and it was dark. Aaron changed the tire. You know, I can't remember if we had a flash light... huh. We must have. Well, you know I did not make my midnight curfew and this was before cell phones. I think it was close to 2 a.m. before he got me home. Every light was on and my parents were both up. He weaseled on out of there pretty fast. My parents were pretty mad. They weren't buying the flat tire story. And my mom let me know that she took all of my new Clinique face wash and make-up and threw it in the dumpster.

This was a very small depot and there were only four culdesacs of housing. In the center of each culdesac there was a dumpster surrounded by a fence. You know where I'm headed don't you? Yeah, I took a dumpster dive. I had spent a lot of money on that stuff and I was getting it back. Do you know what it is like to go through bags of other people's trash and grass clippings in the middle of the night? Not fun! I couldn't find it and my mom caved. She said she set it gently in the left corner of the dumpster. She knew I'd be going after it and she only did that to make a point. What the point was... I don't know. Don't go out with a loser when we are moving in a couple of days or I'll throw your make-up away kind of point, I guess.

Well, I headed back out to the dumpster. While in it I heard the MP's drive up in their truck. Ummmm... some of those guys were cute and I didn't know which ones were on patrol. They stopped, shone their light in on me and demanded to know what I was doing. Let's just say I was glad to leave that town!

So, what was your worst date? Keep it PG though, okay? My kids sometimes read this blog.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Random Snippets From Conversations at my House

"Nice Zit."

"You spilled MY make-up all over MY bed!!!"

"You shouldn't have made fun of my zit!"

"Where are my keys?!?! Did you just lock them IN THE HOUSE?!?!?"

"MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!"

"Better to be pissed off than pissed on."
a
"I wish I could remember being a baby... well except for the crapping your pants part."
a
"Why can't I sleep? It's summer!!!"
a
"There's nothing good to eat in this house. It's all stuff you have to fix."
a
"I'll drive. My parents pay for my gas."
a
"Why do I always have to clean my bathroom?"
a
"I love you."
a
"Get out of the trash!"
a
"I got my nose pierced!"
a
"We have to pay how much right now?"
a
"Get out of my room!!!"
a
"You make me laugh."
a
"Shut up that bird!!!"
a
"Dude."
a
"You call this clean?"
a
"Does anyone in this house have a pen?"
a
"That's fricken awesome!"
a
"We are bleeding money."
a
"BENNY NO!!! NO!!! BENNY I SAID NO!!!"
a
"Mooooooom... no... why?"
a
"Why are there dishes under your bed?"
a
"Whuuu..."
a
"I'm never having children."
a
"One day I am going to come home and find nothing but your feet sticking out of that computer."
a
What are some random snippets of conversations from your house?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

911

Have any of y'all ever had to call 911? We have on several occasions.

When the girls were babies we lived in an 800 sq ft. two bedroom cottage in Pasadena, CA. We had a little air conditioner that only cooled the area right around it. It would get so hot that I could barely function. We had a little laundry room with a second bathroom that had a fan that sounded like a 747 taking off. We used cloth diapers and the pail was FULL. I had sorted the laundry but left it in piles on the floor in there. There were quite a few dishes piled up and toys everywhere. It was a mess! I had just changed a diaper... we did that in the laundry room because that is where we kept the pail... when the fan in the bathroom made a funny noise. I went in and looked up and as I did it burst into flame and was totally engulfed in a matter of seconds. I tried to toss some water at it and called 911. I could not tell if the fire had spread to the roof or was in the ceiling. While I waited for the fire truck I ran around picking stuff up. When they got there they yelled at me for still being in the house. It was pretty embarrassing.

Another time our kids were playing and Frappacino was pushed off the top of the girls' bunk bed and was knocked out. I didn't want to move her in case her back was injured so we called 911. She was fine but they took all the kids out and let them crawl around the fire truck while they made sure our story lined up with theirs.

Another time Frappacino was in a tree in our front yard and as she slid down to get out her leg got caught in the Y of the tree. I could not free her. I called 911 and told them she was fine but I couldn't get her out and asked them to please not use the sirens. About two minutes later I heard sirens... ugh. Our whole neighborhood came out to watch. The firemen actually had a hard time getting her free. They ended up having to put some kind of thing they filled with air using a hose connected to the truck. I don't know what it was, but it was big and three of them had to hold it up above her while it filled. It then spread the tree apart enough to get her leg free. There had to be 50 or more people standing around gawking. Someone even took pictures.

Soooo... do any of y'all have funny stories about calling 911? Let's hear 'em!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Frappacino's Big Trip

Our little Frappy is going on a trip in July. Well, she's tall like her mama, so she ain't really that little! My father-in-law is taking her on a little Asian Tour. He has lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for about ten years now. We are pretty excited for her!

So... we got an e-mail from Grandpa yesterday...

Frappy,

I have exchanged emails with your Dad and it looks like everything is falling into place. This is going to be a Grand Adventure of the highest order. I have a few suggestions for you:

*Start a diary - you will want to write down all the details every day. You will very much enjoy reading it later.


*Bring along a pair of good tennis or running shoes - the ones with laces. They will prove very useful walking in this part of the world and it seems every tourist wants to climb up Ankor Wat ..... which can be a little harrowing. Also, tennis or running runs (with laces) are excellent for the long flights. The feet of most people will become swollen during the flight. I have seen people walking off airplanes carrying their slippers because they could not get them back on.

*Bring only light clothing. This is the tropics and it will be hot, hot, hot and then it will get hot. You will not need any sweaters or jackets. Tee shirts, shorts and sandals or the order of the day. We can get the sandals here.

*Pack your suitcase very light - maybe only half full. When you return the other half will be full of souvenirs or things you just could not resist.

*Bring along a small carry-on bag containing one good book you have been meaning to read and some snacks. Sorry but no carry on water allowed any more.

*Don't worry about a camera. We got lots of digitals out here and can burn some discs.

*Bring a sense of humor. You will need it.

*Bring a sense of adventure - you gonna see things, do things and eat things you never thought about.

*If you have time, go to the public library and get a recording machine so you can learn a few words of Malaysia Bahasa. It will help you communicate with the natives - especially those that still live in the trees. It is a good thing to be able to say "Hello", Good-Bye, How Are You, Thank You and a few other things like that. It is also essential to be able to scream in the local language " HELP - I'M BEING KIDNAPPED".

*Don't worry about trying to learn the Cambodian language. People with bleached skin can not "clack" enough to speak Cambodian. Besides I know how to communicate with them - the good old U.S. Dollar.

*Learn a bit about where you are going - what is the capital, how big is it, how many people live there, what do they eat & drink, how did they get that leg chopped off, what are the major cities and cultures.

*I don't think you need to bring any medical stuff unless there is something you take daily or weekly for an existing condition. There is not much you will need that we can't get here.

*We will need to know your blood type ..... just in case of some freak accident with a tiger.


See ya soon sweetheart.

Grandpa
The Ling Chai


So, I sent him the following:


Help I'm being kidnapped?!?!?! Thanks a lot!!! That'll keep me up nights while she's gone! Her blood type is B+.... Dang. Not nice. I've forwarded this on to the princess. She doesn't get up this early and I'll be gone before she rises. She got her passport back with the Cambodian visa yesterday. We are really excited for her. Thanks so much for taking her on this trip.

Love, Coffee Bean

And his reply was:

Heh heh heh ..... got to have a little fun in life. I was wondering if you would read the whole thing.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Why Booper? Why?

Can you believe he is whining because he wants in the house? He probably doesn't realize he's going to have to get a bath. He hates baths. That is because a bath around here is really being tied up on the front porch and sprayed with cold water from the hose. He does not care for it all, as you can see here and here. Be sure to click on the first here first and the second here second. It is a series in two different posts. And, guess what? It is summer. Do you know what that means? I don't have to give him a bath. I have my choice of two grumpy teenagers to do it for me. Bwah HA HA HA!!! In about... oh 20 minutes... there's going to be whining of a different kind. The whining of an American teenager actually having to do a chore. Bummer for them. Yay for me!

Urgent Need

Elysa is a close personal friend and she requested that I post this. It is from a friend of hers... Jeff Goins of Adventure in Missions. I do not know anything about him or his organization but I trust her. If you feel led to help, please check out his website and make sure you are as informed as possible. The following is the e-mail Elysa received this morning.

My friend Pat is about to become homeless. She's been there before and doesn't want to go back. She's been working for awhile now at the local La Quinta to provide for herself and her two beloved dogs.

I met her about a month ago, while I was delivering groceries to different people in need. She told me her story, and it broke my heart.

Pat has cancer. When she was diagnosed with cancer, she was bummer, but still thanked God for her many blessings: job, apartment, dogs, etc.

Then, for no apparent reason, her job fired her. In anticipation of the chemotherapy keeping her from any kind of intense activity, she paid her next two months' rent (May and June). That's why we brought the groceries - she had spent all her money on rent and didn't have enough for food. When we found her, she was barely scraping by, but believing God would take care of her.

I told her to call me if she ever needed anything. I say that a lot and don't usually get a response. Sometimes, I'm not sure that I mean it. This time, Pat is holding me to it, and I'm grateful.

She asked if it were at all possible to help her with her rent and utilities, which should be about $525. If she can make her deadline of July 1, she'll be fine after that, because her disability and food stamps will have kicked in. She even offered to pay me back $10 a month if I can get her the money. I don’t entertain ideas like this usually, but it appears that Pat is genuinely in need and has fallen through the cracks of the “system.” I’m looking into ways that we can get some local organizations to help, but I think it would be beautiful if individuals just surrounded her and met the need. I’ve seen this done before, and it’s amazing.

I told her that I'd ask you, the Church, if it can be done. What do you say? Can it?

If you're interested in helping Pat, send me a message before this Friday (June 13), which is when I told Pat I'd let her know. mailto:mjeff.goins@gmail.com

Jeff Goins
World Race Mobilization
http://www.theworldrace.org/
_______________________________
Editor-in-chief, Wrecked for the Ordinary
http://www.wreckedfortheordinary.com/
Blog: http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org/

Update! The need has been more than met! Cool, huh?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Group 5...

The following list is of bloggers that posted on their sites that I had not ever been to before. I was really touched! Thank you so much!

Bunny B

Her site is unlike any I've seen before. It doesn't have a title but the url says bunnymoney. It seems to be a site that lists contests... so if you like contests head on over because she seems to know where they all are! Check it out!

Claudia @ stitchintime

Claudia is in the midst of some trials! Being a mom is really hard sometimes... I know. It is oddly comforting to read about another mom in the trenches. I know I am not alone. I'm sure she could use some encouragement so drop by and help lift her head. She is also a stitcher... which I think that means she does cross stitch. Check it out!

Deborah @ Songs from my Journey

Deborah is a lovely lady from Canada. I’d been to her garden blog before. Her pictures are just beautiful. She posted about the contest on this other blog that I hadn’t been to. The music is soothing and you leave there feeling peaceful. I am looking forward to reading more of what she’s has to say. Check it out!

Mary @ Keep the Light Shining

Mary is a delightful Great Grandma! Yup, you read that right. She is really cute too! She has a little story about "Paw Paw" up and her great grandson. I got choked up reading it. She's recently been camping and is very active! What an inspiration. I will definitely be reading through her archives as I sense she has a lot of good stuff in there. Check it out!

Snbjork @ Suzie Q and Her Family, Too

Snbjork, or Suzanne, is a beautiful, young Mormon Mama with some adorable little ones! She has an incredible recipe site here, too! There are some great recipes in there and she even includes the nutrition information with many of them. Check it out!

The Cotton Wife

Last but not least and the winner of the $20 Starbucks card. She is about to have her third child in a couple of weeks! She posts beautiful pictures of their farm… there is a certain feel to them that I really like. They grow “peanuts, soybeans, corn, cotton and chilluns.” I am looking forward to learning more. She is actually running a little contest of her own... I might or might not have a nightmare about it. Check it out! I may also be hearing, "Check it out!" over and over in my dreams too!

This is very important! I tried very hard to be careful and make sure that I got everyone that posted on their blogs about my contest. If you did and you are not on this list, please let me know! It is really important to me that I link to y'all and I really appreciate it.

Group 4...

Roland Hulme @ Militant Ginger

Gosh, I was really touched that he posted about my contest. I’ve only posted a comment on his blog a couple of times. His blog is mainly commentary on political issues and current events. He is very smart and while I don’t always agree with what he has to say, I am interested in his point of view. I always come away from his blog thinking… and sometimes in search of the dictionary! He and his wife are expecting their first baby in the next couple of weeks. Check it out!

Tj @ Humble Origins

Tj is a very caring person that leaves encouraging words wherever she comments. She’s got a great sense of humor and I love her self portrait she has on her blog. She is very creative and makes some darling things! Check it out!

Trisha @ In My Dreams I Can Talk

Trisha is my fellow SD’er. It is because of her efforts to educate others about SD that I was directed to her podcasts and then to Arwyn @ The Whispered Sound of Silence… who posted a video of herself talking… that I came up with the idea for this whole contest. Trisha was a teacher. Many people with SD have difficulty keeping their jobs because most jobs require talking. The inability to be heard if there is any kind of background noise affects all areas of your life and leads to a certain level of isolation… no matter how much you try or how outgoing you are. She hasn’t been getting many comments on her blog and is frustrated. Please go check her out and leave her a comment. It will make her day! And she has done so much to try to get the word out… 19 podcasts so far! Wow!

Two Dogs @ Mean ol' Meany

What a nice guy! I was so touched that he would post about my contest on his blog! His blog is mainly centered around his views of our current political situation. I like to read about other people’s political views that aren’t on TV or broadcasting through the radio… you know, just regular people. He often makes me laugh. Check it out!

Group Three...

Linda @ When You Think You’ve Seen it All

Linda is a new blogger and I am looking forward to seeing what she does with her blog! She recently told about a harrowing experience with her dogs. She is a nurse going through... uh, I can't think of how to spell it and am too lazy to go check... sigh... saying that made me feel like a loser so I went back a looked... anesth...ugh! I forgot already... okay it is anesthetist training. Check it out!

Ma Bunny @ Able’s Antics

Ma Bunny is a wonderful lady with a big heart. I love the lapghan she made for me after winning her blog contest. She is trying to raise awareness of pediatric cancer by crocheting hats. I just attended the graduation of a beautiful young lady that had cancer when she was a baby and not expected to live. The doctors said it was a miracle! I had the honor of teaching her American Government and Geography along with 5 other girls, two of which were mine, over the course of two years. Check it out!

Megan @ Undomestic Diva

Megan’s blog gets an R rating. She is the hysterically funny mom to 3 boys aged 5 (maybe 6 now) and under. They have a Saint Bernard named Morty and just typing that makes me laugh. Her sarcasm and wit are pretty clever. She is a Starbucks fiend and they really should pay her... or at least, give her free drinks for all the free advertising she gives them! She says some shocking stuff… stuff you might sometimes think but never say. I sometimes refer to her as, “Little Miss Crusty.” That came about after I saw a picture of her. She is very young and very beautiful. She got a kick out of the fact that I thought she looked wholesome. Her sense of humor is anything but! Remember the R rating and don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Ranger @ Ranger

Ranger has a neat blog that I'm going to spend some more time perusing. I like her conversational style of writing... you feel like she is talking to you! Poor thing lives somewhere super hot already! It looks to me a bit like Florida. Sigh... we have not seen the ocean or a beach in 4 years. Anyway, she's got some neat ideas for leftovers and the cleanest stove I have ever seen! I like how she trained her dogs too! Check it out!

Rick @ Organized Doodles

Rick is not only a talented cartoonist… he is just a really neat guy!!! I used a caricature he did for me as my blog header on my first blog, “Laughing Always Helps.” I decided I wanted to keep it as a souvenir from the first blog. I have commissioned him to do another for me. I should be getting it sometime this summer. He’s become quite busy and has a back log. Check it out!

Next Group...

Yeah! It worked doing it that way! I only have another couple of minutes but this time I typed it all out into a word document first so if I lost it I wouldn't have to start all over again!

Julia @ My Bloomin’ Life

Julia has a wonderful blog where she shares her spiritual insights as well as some funny stories about her life. Not long ago, I was having a really bad day and this post really helped me get through it. Check it out!

Just Me @ Peanut Butter & Bacon Sandwiches

Isn't that a cute blog title? Just Me has a great sense of humor. She can get a little PG 13 or so... just to warn ya. She was a regular commentor on my first blog and just found this one recently. I am glad she did because I didn't have a way to contact people because I cleared all my blogs out of my favorites and didn't even read blogs between the time I deleted the other one and when I started this one and couldn't remember all of them to let them know I was back. I am looking forward to getting reaquainted with her and her blog! Check it out!

Karen @ Fresh Fixins

My two youngest kids were baptized in Karen’s hot tub when we lived in Mississippi. She also took care of our girls when we came to Colorado to find a home before moving. We’ve actually been able to get to know one another better through our blogs and e-mails back and forth about our blogs. She is a wonderful cook! She and her husband are raising and homeschooling two of their granddaughters and just graduated the oldest! Check it out!

Kathy @ Kathy’s Dusty Trails

Kathy is a vet and sometimes posts pictures of surgeries… gross but still very interesting! She and her husband are settling into their new cabin home in the mountains. She takes wonderful pictures and even takes you on some horseback adventures! I always come away from her site wishing I could live near her and hang out on her porch while I ask her about everything she does! Check it out!

Laura-Peach @ Silence is Broken

Laura-Peach is currently sharing her life story on her blog and it is a humdinger! She is currently covering the teen years. After reading her posts I often spend some time looking at the pictures she posts that go along with those years and wonder about her. I am very interested to read the rest of her story to see how she got to where she is today. Some of what she’s been through just breaks my heart. Check it out!

oooooh... I am cutting it real close! Gotta run! I'll be back later.

I'm giving it another try...

I really want to thank all of you that posted about the DAW contest! My schedule is crazy today so I only have a bit of time to get some of these out before I am out the door again!

Alison @ RDH Mom

A big part of Alison’s blog is the story of their adoptions. It gives you a great picture of what is entailed in the adoption process! But, that’s not all that’s on there. Check it out!

AmusedMomma @ Kids Say the Darndest Things

Paula is a personal friend and a seasoned advocate for homeschooling here in Colorado. Her family is very involved in homeschool support and you can find many links on her site to many homeschooling resources. Her blog is not just about homeschooling. She touches on many different subjects and I always enjoy the things she shares about. Although, sometimes she uses words I don’t know the definition to. Don’t tell her I said that though. She already has enough to laugh at me about in regard to my severely lacking computer skills. Check it out!

Brenda @ Living with RAD

Brenda is a sweet gal that is dealing with Reactive Attachment Disorder with a couple of her adopted children. She is a wonderful resource, not just for those that are also dealing with RAD, but for those considering adopting and for those frustrated with parenting (that would be me). She has a way of putting things in perspective and her gentleness really comes through. Check it out!

Elysa @ Musings from Graceland

Elysa is another personal friend. She is the mom to seven kids ranging in age from 14 to 2. When she was single she was a missionary to Swaiziland. This past February she was able to return to Africa with her two oldest girls on a short term missions trip. Elysa also homeschools her children. Her blog contains many of her personal insights. Check it out!

Flea @ Flea’s World

Flea is a really neat gal with a great sense of humor. She has this whole Fred & Bessie thing with these little cow salt & pepper shakers (at least that is what I think they are… they might just be little ceramic cows). She often photographs them on their many adventures. She’s even given them their own blog at Formica Fields. Like me, she also homeschooled her children for nine years and they are now in school. She also writes stories that she shares. Check it out!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

And the Winner is...

Before I get to announcing the winner of the contest, I wanted y'all to see this beautiful lapghan! It came in the mail this week from Ma Bunny at Able's Antics. A while back she had a contest to celebrate her 100th post and asked for funny wedding stories. I won! You can read my entries here. Interestingly, this is my 100th post. Ma Bunny crochets hats to raise awareness for pediatric cancer. Check her out!

I want y'all to know that from the time I posted the contest until I closed it, my blog had 1,378 visitors, 930 of which were first time visitors. Roughly 10% of those that visited went on to the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association site or the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation site. I could never have reached that many people in my real life. There were 112 entries into the contest and 25 of you posted on your blogs about my contest and/or dystonia.

I've worked on this for many hours today... I've been reading blogs and I wanted to link each of you that posted about this and to say a bit about every single one of you and your blogs. I've lost it all twice just as I was nearing the end. I do not know what I am doing wrong or if it is a problem with blogger. At this point, I am afraid to attempt it again.

The winner is...


Congratulations The Cotton Wife!

Please e-mail your address to



Thank You !!!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Contest Now Closed

I cannot thank y'all enough for taking the time to comment and post about this on your blogs to help raise awareness this week about dystonias! I will announce the winner in a post tomorrow, Sunday, June 8th.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A CONTEST!!! A CONTEST!!!

In honor of National Dystonia Awareness Week, I'd like to have a little contest here on my blog! Okay, so the prize isn't such a big deal... $20 Starbucks card (for you international people, if you don't have a Starbucks we can figure something else out).

All you need to do is leave me a comment! However, if you link back to me on your blog and let me know, you will be entered in the drawing twice. AND if someone comes from your blog to my blog to enter and says that they were directed to my blog through your blog... you will be entered a third time! So, make sure that if you link from your blog that they know to mention your blog when they enter!

Let's see how far we can spread the word!

If you'd like to learn more about Dystonia or Spasmodic Dysphonia... just click on those words! There is a very short clip of me speaking in the post below this one... and links to other SD'ers in the post below that one.

Dystonia Awareness week runs from June 1 through June 7. I will close the contest at 6 pm on Saturday, June 7th.

THANKS!!!

Me, Talking

Okay... the, uhhhh... vain side of me does NOT want to post this. It is hard for me to actually see myself talking, not to mention my hair is flat, I need to go on a diet and where the heck did those lines come from?

Because I have low volume and am "breathy," it may be possible that I am actually a combination. When they scoped it was obvious that the area around my vocal chords is actually spasming and closing shut over the chords. Talking requires a lot of effort on my part and it is as if I am having to speak without breathing. I know there is a lot out there about those with SD not breathing properly and that being a big part of the problem, but... I went for speech therapy with a speech pathologist for several months and she and my doctor both said that there was no point in continuing. I do breathing exercises often... I just can't do it while talking. Trisha has had some success with speech therapy so I am wondering if I should try going back???

I actually stopped getting the botox injections months ago. I have only had two successful injections out of the... gosh, 10-15 that I've gotten. I am getting to where I may try again... or try something different. I don't know. The problem is that no one really has the answer.

The squawking in the background is our son's quaker parrot, Paco, the terrorist.

I really had to strain to talk as loud as possible because the camera wouldn't pick up my voice. It isn't that hard for me to speak one on one in a quiet room. The problem is background noise. It takes very little to drown out my voice.

Dystonia Awareness Week

Trisha over at In My Dreams I Can Talk, and Arwyn over at Whispered Sound of Silence are doing a great job of getting the word out about Spasmodic Dysphonia! Trisha does regular podcasts and has a special one this week here. Arwyn has posted a little clip of herself talking. Check them both out if you'd like to learn more!

Monday, June 2, 2008

It's MONDAY!

What was up with Blogger?!?!? I had a terrible time this morning trying to post and trying to read other blogs. Apparently, it is all fixed now. Blogaholic, anyone ?!?!?

This picture was taken from my porch this morning. I was sitting on my couch with my coffee and just happened to glance out of the window at the right moment. They were descending rather quickly so I would have missed it if I'd looked over another couple of minutes later. I want to go on a balloon ride!

I loved all the comments on my last post! It is so much fun when y'all step out and tell me stuff about yourselves! I've always wanted this blog to be more interactive and to get to know the people reading it! So tell me...

#1 Are you a bLoGaHoLiC ???

#2 What mundane tasks are you avoiding by reading this blog right now?

Seeing as I almost broke out in a rash this morning when I couldn't get on... I would say I am in the blogaholic category.

Since blogger was down... I actually got a lot of mundane tasks out of the way for the day already. However, I do always have more! I need to get caught up on laundry and ironing today. How bout y'all?