Thursday, April 30, 2009

hApPy 19th bIrThDaY Frappacino!!!

Tomorrow is Frappy's Birthday.
Cuppa Joe got things started early...


Not only did he give her these roses today...
He threw her a sUrPrIsE BiRtHdAy Party!
a
Cuppa Joe had given her the flowers earlier today and then they met up to go on a bike ride. He said he wanted to get a coffee which meant they'd have to ride through the Oval. The Oval is a beautiful place on campus with grass and a lot of trees. He took her there for a picnic the day after they met. When they got there a group of Frappy's friends were there wearing silly birthday hats. There was an ice cream cake and a water balloon fight! She is over the moon!
a
Tomorrow Frappy and Cuppa Joe are coming down for the weekend. She has requested Caesar salad, french bread, mashed potatoes and steak for dinner... and a homemade white cake with chocolate frosting. She wants strawberry shortcake ice cream or sherbet... okay. I kind of like my food to match. LOL!
a
Golly... I can't believe her freshman year away at college is already coming to an end... How does that happen so quickly? It was just yesterday that she was making clothes for her American Girl dolls and wanting to go to the library for more books to read...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bicycles! Bicycles!

**Doing a little recycling here... This post is from April 1, 2008.

Ah, spring is finally in the air. The air in my head anyway. Never mind the snowflakes flurrying about this morning. They'll soon go away, right? A few weeks ago, Mr. Macchiato pulled out all of the bikes and got them in order. Double Shot likes to go riding through some rough trails near our home and puts the tires through it. He'll go from bike to bike and last summer did a number on Frappacino's.

Have y'all ever heard that Queen song about bicycles and big bottomed girls making the world go 'round? I haven't heard it in forever but, for some reason, it is in my head.

I have a very nice bike. Don't ask me what it is. I rarely pay attention to such things. I just know it cost a lot. Ha! I guess that makes it a nice bike, huh? Whatever. It is a nice bike though. I got it five years ago and I've ridden it twice. Our neighborhood is full of wicked hills and I'm a big bottomed girl. The two times I rode the bike I dutifully put on my helmet and rode the bike as far as I could up the hill (which was about 20 ft) and then got off and walked my bike up to the top. I don't know much about physics but I do know that I went flying down that hill pretty darn fast. I think I almost broke the sound barrier. It seems to me that the fatter you are the faster you go down hill. It scared me a little. Okay, a lot.

Mr. Macchiato can ride his bike up the hill. He waited for me to get to the top one of the times. He was rolling around on the ground in front of some one's house. He thought he was having a heart attack. I think he's only ridden his bike twice too. Maybe three times. He thinks he's better though because he rode his bike to the top. I'm better because I didn't roll around on the ground for all of creation to see while whining about the burn. So what if I cried, no one saw.

When we were teaching the kids to ride their bikes they all reacted differently.

Double Shot, being the youngest and the boy, took to it pretty quick. He didn't care much for the brakes though. He found it much more fun to just crash the bike into a curb or a bush whenever he wanted to stop. Sometimes he would just jump off of it and let the bike keep going until it stopped on its own. We should own Johnson and Johnson stock. In fact, this very morning he left band-aid wrappers, antibiotic ointment, and hydrogen peroxide strewn about his bathroom floor. He didn't crash on his bike though. He was playing football in the street. And he crashed into a fence in right field catching a ball.

Frappacino, being ever prim and proper, went about it all in typical fashion. A few tears and scrapes but uneventful for the most part. She was sure to color co-ordinate her outfits to her bike and basket. Dollies and stuffed animals were taken for rides with regular stops to pick flowers for Mama. She was always sure to follow the rules and stay within her boundaries.

Chai Tea loved her training wheels. She saw absolutely no reason to remove them... ever. I think they'd still be on her bike today if we hadn't forced the issue. She was the oldest and the last to learn to ride a bike without training wheels. Mr. Macchiato or I would have to run along behind her with our hand on the back of her seat. She would freak out if she thought we weren't holding on. I got good at making it seem as though I was really holding on when I wasn't. One day I was trotting along behind her when she got ahead of me. I thought it was time and exuberantly exclaimed to her, "You're doing it! You are riding your bike ALL BY YOURSELF!!!" She promptly hit a patch of gravel and was pitched over the front of her bike. The face plant was not pretty, she said it was all my fault and she was NEVER going to ride her bike again EVER. She meant it too. It was nearly SIX MONTHS before she would get on her bike again. She wanted me to trot along behind her as before but I refused. She wasn't the only stubborn one in the house! Her Daddy wouldn't help her either. Before we knew it she was zipping up and down the hill in front of our house, all by herself!

Chai Tea didn't believe she could ride a bike. We knew she could. I let go of her and she fell. She got angry with me for letting her go. She blamed me for her fall and then refused to get back on the bike for a long time. When she got ready to get back on the bike she wanted me to hold it for her like before. Only I wouldn't. She finally got on the bike on her own. I don't know if when she first got back on that bike that she believed she could ride it... but she did get to where she was going to try. And she did it. SHE DID IT!

Isn't it funny how God uses our children to teach US? You might think the last paragraph is about me stating that I was right and Chai Tea just didn't believe me. It isn't about that at all. Spiritually, I am my daughter and my walk is that bike.

I don't know where you are or if you can relate, but I need to get back on the bike.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I took a Weird Personality Test...

The Results:



Your view on yourself: You are down-to-earth and people like you because you are so straightforward. You are an efficient problem solver because you will listen to both sides of an argument before making a decision that usually appeals to both parties.


The type of girlfriend/boyfriend you are looking for: You like serious, smart and determined people. You don't judge a book by its cover, so good-looking people aren't necessarily your style. This makes you an attractive person in many people's eyes.


Your readiness to commit to a relationship: You are ready to commit as soon as you meet the right person. And you believe you will pretty much know as soon as you meet that person.


The seriousness of your love: Your have very sensible tactics when approaching the opposite sex. In many ways people find your straightforwardness attractive, so you will find yourself with plenty of dates.


Your views on education: Education is very important in life. You want to study hard and learn as much as you can.


The right job for you: You have plenty of dream jobs but have little chance of doing any of them if you don't focus on something in particular. You need to choose something and go for it to be happy and achieve success.


How do you view success: You are afraid of failure and scared to have a go at the career you would like to have in case you don't succeed. Don't give up when you haven't yet even started! Be courageous.


What are you most afraid of: You are afraid of having no one to rely on in times of trouble. You don't ever want to be unable to take care of yourself. Independence is important to you.


Who is your true self: You are mature, reasonable, honest and give good advice. People ask for your comments on all sorts of different issues. Sometimes you might find yourself in a dilemma when trapped with a problem, which your heart rather than your head needs to solve.

Soooo... How bout YOU take the test HERE and tell me about YOU!!!

And... are you on crackbook.... er... I mean facebook? If not... STAY AWAY!!! It is worse than blogging. WORSE. I have to shut down my computer now and actually do something today. Otherwise, Mr. Macchiato might leave me. No, really. Our house is a WRECK! I have to say though... FB has the neatest little feature where you can see if your friends are on and then you can "talk" to them in a little bubble. You can do that with instant messaging but I don't know many people with that and you can still do stuff on facebook while you are chatting.

On to the Drudgery!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Journey to the Dark Side

The Dark Side of Blond, that is!
a
As a child I had very light blond hair and as I got older it got darker. My natural hair color now is dishwater blond with, thanks to my children, a few streaks of silver grey. I'd like to just let my hair turn naturally but... Mr. Macchiato is not ready for it. Neither are my parents. Or my kids. Sigh. I have dyed my hair dark on many occasions in the hopes that it would make me look more like my mother. She's gorgeous. I had to listen to my guy friends in high school talk about how "Foxy" she was... and then ask me how come I didn't look like either of my parents. A good and kind mother would not be so pretty. Just kidding Mom! It did kinda suck though.


Evidence this morning that spring will be sprung in full here soon. There is no green on the trees but... green is creeping out across all the lawns in our neighborhood. Some rotten neighbors have greener grass than most. Not us, darn it. There are daffodils and tulips making appearances in other yards. We don't have any. A lot of those flowers get killed every year by our weather. The green leaves of my day lillies have come up. I can't wait for everything to come back to life!
a
This is some exciting blog post! Woo Hoo!! I really should be cleaning but, you know, I don't want to right now. I have to leave in a bit to get Double Shot. I spent my morning at the County Clerk & Recorder getting the tags for my Explorer. I named her Nilla. That is short for Vanilla. Do y'all name your cars? I think I already shared somewhere on here that Mr. Macchiato told me I was "plain" one time and I got very upset. He tried to make it better by explaining himself and said that I was "plain like vanilla." That didn't help much. He then went on and said, "you know, wholesome... girl next door kind of plain." Yes, he is still paying. He will pay until the day he dies. On several occasions since he's tried to convince me that vanilla is exotic. What?!?!
a
So, if y'all name your vehicles, what are their names? Wait... have I asked this question before??? Hmmmmm...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Message from the Trench...


Our last view of Chai Tea as she embarked on her new life.
Fly Boy gave her an engagement ring when she got to Mississippi.
I think this picture is imprinted on my mind forever...
especially the stuffed dog looking back at me.
a
Our goal has always been for our children to grow up and to go on to lives of their own. I guess I thought we could control how and when that happened...
a
My right eye started twitching the day before Chai Tea left and did not stop until yesterday. It is unusual for someone with SD to develop other dystonias... I don't know if it was just the stress or if it is another dystonia that has developed. However, I may be insane now. Do you actually know if you are insane?
a
Double Shot has been taking us for a wild ride... Sigh. I really feel as though Mr. Macchiato and I are hunkered down in a trench on the front lines of a war. We are battle weary and have called in reinforcements. Our good ole counselor! We hadn't seen him in a couple months because everything was going well... as well as we could expect given the situation. I really want to encourage anyone who is having trouble with their teens (or kids of any age, really) to sit down with an objective third party. It helps so much to see things from a different perspective. Our counselor has gotten to know us over the past 14 months and how our family works. It was so nice for Mr. Macchiato to be able to just call him up and for the three of us to go in and not have to go over all the history... he already knows it. I think the most important thing when dealing with family issues is to have Mom and Dad on the same page. I don't think we'd have been able to do that without being able to talk about behavior and consequences with someone who understands the mind of a teen better than we do. And... it isn't just about the teen... it is about the whole family.
a
I am so dreadfully behind on all y'all's blogs... OY!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter, Rocky Mountain Style

It wouldn't be Easter in our part of Colorado without snow...



I actually wore a dress to church and was rewarded with shoes full of ice cold slush on the way to the car after the service. There is standing water there but it doesn't look like it in the picture. It was COLD!!!


I am so ready for the snow to go!
I want to see some green!




There are no springtime flowers in front of my house...




Well, except for the plastic ones on my door.
Meh.





It is beautiful this Tuesday morning though. I enjoyed driving Double Shot to school. After I dropped him off that is. He was grumpy. Even though I bought him McDonalds for breakfast. He thinks it is cruel and unusual punishment to have a mother that is happy in the morning. He snarfed his food and then cranked the heat and went back to sleep. I turned on the air conditioner. Sure, my fingers turned into popsicles but it was fun to have him wake up and turn the dial back to heat, go back to sleep and then wake up again when he got too cold because I turned the air conditioner back on. I do my best to find joy in the small things.
a
We are supposed to hit the mid sixties today. I am going to enjoy it because we've got more snow coming Thursday. The weather here this time of year drives me crazy!!!
a
I have not been blogging... too much going on. Now, I am stressed about getting caught up with all my blog buddies. Chai Tea is staying with us the next couple of days before she moves to Mississippi on Friday... GULP.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

HAPPY EASTER!!!



I pray y'all have a wonderful Easter weekend full of remembrance, family, friends, food and fun!

God Bless!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Winners!

Congratulations Angela from FREE SPIRIT HAVEN and BLBeamer, commenter without a blog! Send your addresses to coffeebeankel@earthlink.net and I will get that coffee ordered for you!

I found it interesting that the winners were both the first to comment on both blogs! Funny how things work out like that sometimes!

Things have been crazy here... I honestly thought this morning that it was Wednesday. Sigh...

I hope y'all have a great day!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

So You Know...

I am going to keep the Oprah post at the top here through Tuesday, April 7th. Winners of the drawings will be posted on Wednesday, April 8th. To see new blog posts between now and then, scroll down below this one. Thanks!

Oprah, Dr. Oz, and Michael J. Fox... with a Surprise at the End!

Yesterday Oprah had Michael J. Fox on her show along with Dr. Oz to discuss Parkinsons Disease and Dystonia. Spasmodic Dysphonia, or SD, of which I suffer, is a form of dystonia.

I was actually very nervous about what was going to be said on the show... Last June I posted this video of me talking in an effort to raise awareness about dystonia. In July, I was contacted by a representative from Bachmann Strauss about posting a PSA on my blog regarding dystonia. I did so immediately here. It had not occurred to me until after that that the relation between Parkinsons and dystonia might mean that research could include embryonic stem cell research.

I busied myself and tried not to think about it... until I couldn't any longer. I started doing some research and contacted the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation and asked them if they were involved in embryonic stem cell research or were involved in the fight for federal funding for that type of research. I was assured that they were not.

Because I believe that life begins at conception I am opposed to the use of embryonic stem cells. At the same time, I have a focal form of dystonia that can be hidden simply by my not talking. I can only imagine what it is like for those that have Parkinsons and dystonias that affect their entire bodies. There is and has been great debate over when life begins and I can see where someone who does not believe that life begins at conception would see someone who believes as I do as being an impetus to progress in which they might someday be cured. I do have muscle spasms that occur in my face from time to time, usually when I am greatly stressed, that have caused me to fear that I will develop other dystonias as I age. I've often wondered if there were a cure found through embryonic stem cells if I would change my stance. It has been determined that I am now botox resistant which means I would not have that treatment available to alleviate those types of movements on my face. Where just my voice is concerned, I know that I would not.

This inner conflict has caused me to not use this blog (as I thought I might last summer) as much in the way of bringing others with dystonias on here to share their stories. I was afraid that if Obama was elected that federal funding would become available and that these research foundations would then get involved in ESCR. It all just made me very uncomfortable.

Over on my political blog I did write a bit about stem cell research. If this is something that interests you, here are the links (read in order): Embryonic Stem Cell Research ,
Embryonic Stem Cell Research Part 2 , and Frustrated.

The subject of Obama lifting the "ban" on embryonic stem cell research came up. I was very surprised to hear Dr. Oz state that it really didn't matter now. Fox was obviously irritated (or defensive) when Dr. Oz went on to explain the problems with embryonic stem cell therapy. Fox said that we could have found that out sooner had the research been unfettered... with responsibility, of course. How you can have responsible yet unfettered research is beyond me. I don't want to seem like I have a problem with Fox... I understand where he is coming from and can see why he thinks the way he does. However, it is a perpetuation of the perception that President Bush banned that research altogether when the facts are that he allowed federal funding on that research through already existing embryonic stem cells that were slated for destruction, of which there was a lot, and it is through those strains that much of what we now know was learned!

Dr. Oz went on to say that he believed that we were single digit years away from a cure through adult stem cells. Whether that is true or not and whether that will affect me or not remains to be seen. It did give me some hope, more hope than I've had in awhile, for myself.

I found a website called Cell Medicine that is very informative regarding Parkinsons. The Oprah show did little in the way of actual information in regard to Parkinsons and Dystonia. There is only so much you can do in an hour and there was Fox's book to promote. The fact is that no two people are exactly alike and these conditions cover a wide array of symptoms and affect people very differently. I would like to throw a few quotes from the site down here, however, I would really encourage you to click on the link above and really read through it.

However, the actual use of stem cells to regenerate damaged neural tissue is an area of intense interest and research, and experimental studies have been conducted with varying degrees of success, depending on the particular types of stem cells that were employed. In the 1990s, stem cells from fetal tissue were directly implanted in people with PD in an attempt to regenerate their dopamine-producing neurons, and although many of the implanted cells were indeed found to produce dopamine in the brains of the patients, the patients themselves did not exhibit gross improvement. Some of the patients even developed a disabling dyskinesias that could not be relieved by the usual reduction in antiparkinsonian medications. Indeed, fetal and embryonic stem cells have been shown to carry a number of substantial medical risks to the patient, whereas such risks do not exist in the use of adult stem cells.

Since it is the dopamine-producing cells of the brain which degenerate in PD, an appropriate treatment for PD would be one which is capable of regenerating these dopamine-producing cells. In fact, this would constitute the only truly effective treatment of PD.

Adult stem cell therapy does exactly that.

Although adult stem cell therapy as a treatment for PD is not specifically targeted per se as an isolated area of research at many of the finest research laboratories, nevertheless, there have been numerous studies conducted by some of the finest researchers throughout the world, from which very promising results have been obtained. Indeed, the transplantation of adult stem cells directly into the brains of PD patients has already been performed and has already shown marked success.

One such PD patient, who received his own adult stem cells, testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Science, Technology, and Space on July 14th of 2004, regarding his own progress as a result of this treatment. The headlines from this very newsworthy event read, “Beneficiary of Adult Stem Cell Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease: Safaris and Swimming with Sharks.” The Committee was chaired by Senator Brownback, and the patient who received this novel treatment was Dr. Dennis Turner who had suffered with PD for 14 years. His poor responsiveness to conventional medications made him an ideal candidate for the experimental treatment, which was performed by Dr. Levesque. The procedure itself involved removing a very small tissue sample from Dennis Turner’s brain, from which adult neural stem cells were extracted and cultured into matured dopamine-producing neurons which were then injected back into the left side of his brain, which controls the right side of the body, which was the side that was most severely affected in his particular case. The procedure was performed in 1999. A portion of Dr. Dennis Turner’s testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee is included herein:

“Dr. Levesque did not tell me that this treatment would permanently cure my condition. Science has yet to learn what causes Parkinson’s disease, much less how to remove it. However, since this cell-replacement approach had never been tried in a human patient we hoped for the best. And since my only other realistic alternative was to continue growing worse until I eventually died, I decided to have the surgical procedures in 1999, one to remove the tissue and another to inject the cells. I was awake for both procedures under local anesthesia.”

“Soon after having the cells injected my Parkinson’s symptoms began to improve. My trembling grew less and less, until to all appearances it was gone, only slightly reappearing if I became upset. Dr. Levesque had me tested by a neurologist, who said he wouldn’t have known I had Parkinson’s if he had met me on the street. I was once again able to use my right hand and arm normally, enjoying activities that I had given up hope of ever doing.”

“Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease my condition had slowly, but continuously worsened. I can’t say with certainty what my condition would have become if Dr. Levesque had not used my own adult stem cells to treat me. But I have no doubt that because of this treatment I’ve enjoyed five years of quality life that I feared had passed me by.”

**I highlighted certain points in red for skimmers. :O)

For information on the specifics of Dystonia visit the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation and for more information on Spasmodic Dysphonia go to the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association.

If you read this far leave me a comment and I will enter you into a drawing for a pound of Saint's Coffee. If you link to this post on your blog, I will enter you into a separate drawing for another pound of Saint's Coffee. Not only could you help me spread the word about Dystonia... you could get a free pound of coffee and feed and orphan for a month in the process.

Just a Quick Funny....

This might get me in trouble...

When my boy was 8 years old I was sorting the laundry and found panty liners attached to several pairs of his underwear. When I asked him about it he said, "Aren't those for poop farts?"

Kids crack me up!