The Search

Of everything
There is so much more than a name
There is so much more than an age
There is so much more than what you see
There is so much more beyond me


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A responsibility

Tarzan
Here and Accounted for

I guess the kids have let you all know what’s been going on in my life lately, it seems strange to write the words “my life” and really mean it.

December 23rd…All plans for Christmas Eve were complete. Since I’d been in the kitchen all day, Jim suggested we have our favorite burritos for supper. He went to get them and bring them home, and I had just set down in my chair, sis was there and we were visiting.

All of a sudden I felt very strange…my chest hurt, I got very cold & clammy. I thought at first I was coming down with the flu. I made it back to the bathroom, and then thought I was going to pass out so called my sis to come help. Jim walked in about that time, sis yelled for him to come help, as I was really sick. He took one look at me; he and sis got me on the bed and somehow got 2 aspirin down me, and called our daughter the nurse. She recorded his call at 4:47. He told her he was going to drive me to the hospital. She said no you’re not; I will call 911.
When the paramedics arrived, (which didn’t take long), I remember there just being a lot of people standing over me. One of them was a fireman and I thought it very strange that he had a hatchet hanging from his belt and what was he doing in my bedroom?

After assessing me, they decided to call “flight for life”. The ambulance was already there, but they didn’t think they could get me to the hospital in time. I remember being taken out the door on a gurney to the ambulance so they could do an EKG. At this point my heart rate was 40 and my blood pressure was 40 over 20. It was also 3 deg. outside.

Of course the police had to shut down the hiway so the helicopter could land. The ambulance drove me out to the waiting helicopter. I remember being loaded on board…there was the pilot, an attendant and I. I remember looking the ceiling of the helicopter and the last thing I remember is seeing the lights of the city.

At this point everything I say comes from my family, as I am now “out of it totally”. The cardiologist on call that night went right to work on me. I was officially under his care by 6:00. The family waited. About 8:30 the dr. came out to talk to them… He said he had lost me 3 times, the longest for 20 seconds., but I kept coming back again and again.

Then they were given the news that I would be put under a “sleep induced” coma with a balloon inserted in my heart to give it a break. I was kept like that for 3 days, and then it was a process to bring me back out from under it. Jim stayed there with me. Our son and twin daughters, son’s inlaw’s and grandkids all stayed with him.

After I came to again, on Friday I think, I would not go back to sleep. I did not sleep Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday night, and they made me take some sleeping pills on Monday night.

As I woke up I had to stay in the ICU for 2 more days, until stablized, and could take in a liquid diet, then got moved to a nicer room on the 3rd floor of the hospital. My oncologist even stopped by to see me. He wants to cancel all the stuff scheduled in January so my body will have time to settle down. He said that because of the new stint, all the medications, and the trauma, we would not get a good pet scan anyway.

I really do look like I’ve been run over by a Mac truck. There is hardly a place on my body without a bruise….

As I close this, I want to say thank you…you will never know how much your friendship and love has met to me and all the prayers I’ve received from all of you, family and friends alike.

I think I’m going to get to go home tomorrow. I’ve been on my best behavior all day today trying to impresses the dr.’s to let me go home …I walked 180 feet today! Don’t laugh, that’s a long ways when your body is just coming back to life. They will remove my pic line tomorrow, I’ll have to wait on the doctor, and it’s going to be a very busy day. It’ could be afternoon before I get there.

I think I’m still in shock and simply amazed at what has happened, and am still trying to absorb all this myself. Part of this is working on getting healthy again…I have been given a lot of orders, new medications, and I have to get that going at the top of the list. They want me to stay on oxygen for a while yet, so we will take a portable bottle with us tomorrow, then a rep. will visit us on Wednesday.

I have so much more to say about all this but now is not the time as I need to get to sleep. I do know I feel a responsibility I've not experienced before. There has got to be a reason God sent me back.

I think the family is going to try and get together on Sunday to celebrate Christmas…. we may have hamburgers, but how wonderful to just be a part of it…I love you all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The house and yard are decorated, the tree's are aglow inside and out, the presents are wrapped, the candy made, and the baking all done. All that's missing is the rest of the family who will arrive on Christmas Eve for a wonderful time together. May your hearts be filled with the joyous wonder of Christ as you celebrate his birth. May each of you rejoice the love that surrounds us and binds us together. May you have peace in your heart in the new year to come.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My People

My people
here with me.
I am defined
from generations past
and those of this moment.
Always there, always here
Always within.
They guide me they walk beside me
they follow me.

My past so clear
in pastures that reach to sunset
Gathering and candling eggs
In coops of life
Pioneers who forged the way
In huts of blood and prairies of toil.
Drilling rigs lighting days and nights
Digging thru sweat and pain
Pump jacks and well heads
Producing true and unseen energy.
My people, hard and tough
vulnerable and beautiful
Flowers, grease, laughter and tears
at my Mother & Dad’s side
Learning and growing from their survival
of the past.

Nature and pets of special creatures
all of God’s creations
that were a part of my
learning to love and care for.
Who taught me things
No human could.
Unconditional love
in it’s truest form
Strength in trees and rocks
A solid example of non penetration
Small creeks and oceans beyond
Beside me always.
I would be incomplete without
them.
An important part of
My people.

The present is harder to see
Those now beside, above and beneath me
because I forget to look and I take for granted.
My love, my other me, my connected soul.
Our daily interactions of simple knowing.
Our children, our years together
And our growing up together.
Joy, respect and all things good
and bad, that binds a lifetime.
My children teaching me now.
Who forgive my mistakes
and love me anyway.
Who now walk in front of me.
Grandchildren who carry the seeds
My chance to teach again
And love again with experience.
To watch love produce tomorrow
They are me, they form my steps
They are my tomorrow.
I forget to say out loud
So the world can hear me
Rejoice today and you.
what the present means to me
within the now.
Never ending love and pride
And total, deep fulfillment
In my heart.
In my people of today.

Friends who have shared
their people with me.
Who walk many of the same paths
Who know what obstacles are, and fun,
and memories of youth and growth.
Who have similar trails
Who in their distance spark
the lighted path we're on.
Who touch with words
of encouragement and support.
Who are sisters and brothers
that hold my hand
In yesterday, today and tomorrow.

And those strangers who walk different paths
Who share their journeys
Through education and research
and hard work that keeps today going
around the world.
They touch many they do not know.
I use their knowledge
I strive to learn from them.
Lessons learned from strangers
But they are still my people.

Ahead
I cannot see
the minutes which continue on.
Each one bringing birth.
Renewal of my efforts to grow
To accept and learn and survive.
I do not fear to look ahead.
What is there, will be what it is
and so much more.
And I will walk through it
with them at my side.
My people
With me…….
The path behind, and ahead
and the steps I take today

My strength is in being
Not alone

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monster's in Ice

On December 14th we dropped to a low of minus 18 deg….burrrrr! We have friends who live up north along the Canadian border, and that same night their temperatures were 29 deg. below zero with a wind chill of 50 deg. below, so we really have nothing to complain about!
However; as with everything else there is so much more to the story, when you give thought to those who have to work, or just be outside in those conditions.

Memories of childhood reminds me of those mornings when we awoke to frozen pipes and no water. Dad was always out the door early to go take care of the wells and get his crew going to keep the equipment from freezing up, so getting the lines thawed out and the water moving again was up to Mom. The days were long and miserable. Precautions were taken…..Dad kept the pipes under the house wrapped in old rags and duct tape, and often times a faucet was left open to drip thru the night, but with the howling winds, below freezing temperatures, and none to poor insulation in those days, nothing could prevent the inevitable from happening. We did have a little heater Mom would set under the sink that would eventually get the water going again , but never as quickly as we wanted it to, so it seemed there was always a pan of water kept simmering on the stove….

Winter brought a multitude of problems, that would best be described as a period of survival. The first thing that comes to mind were trips to the outhouse because when one had to go, one had to go and it didn’t matter what the weather was like or how big or little you were. We happened to be more fortunate than others though, because Dad found a way to bury a little pipeline from one of the nearby wells to our outhouse so we kept a small gas heater going when the weather was at it’s worse, which normally kept it half way warm. Getting there was a different story though….. Out the back door, and down the sidewalk, it was located beside the wash house, and unprotected from the elements. One went through a whole process of making up your mind you simply could not wait any longer, dressing warmly including snow boots, and trudging through the snow drifts to arrive at the necessary destination. Being only a “one seater”, it was not large, so you did have to be careful with all the extra clothing that you kept anything loose away from the open flame heater, which of course did nothing to help the cold air from rushing in when the door was opened and lid raised. Before the heater, I can remember having to brush the snow off of the seat before having to make up your mind to set down on it. Also, because it was warmer than outside, you could never be surprised at what may have found their way in from the cold to join you. One could be greeted by a rat or a rabbit, or any one of many creatures, which usually scurried away quickly, but there was almost always a surprise visitor waiting. The goal was to hurry and get finished as quick as possible, before starting the journey back to the house.   I do remember one especially bad blizzard where Dad strung a rope from the house to the outhouse so we could hold onto it and use it as a guide to get there and back through the drifts and blowing snow.

Being the closest oil field worker’s house within a several mile area, our home often became a haven for the roustabouts and roughnecks who needed to use the phone or find help in an emergency situation. Accidents in the winter time were matter of fact as the men wrestled with dangerous, frozen, and very uncooperative equipment… Layers of warm clothes and gloves were the mainstay to keep one from freezing, which made it difficult to get an old engine cranked, or a pipe connection made, requiring a sensitive mechanic’s touch, but being nearly impossible with layers of gloves and wrapping on the hands.

One morning we heard an unusual noise at the back door which sounded like an animal, and upon opening it there stood a monster! At least to a little girl it appeared to be a monster. It was the form of a man with ice hanging all over him…. His entire face was covered in snow with icicles hanging from his hair and cap, nose, ears and chin. His old, greasy coat was a block of ice with one arm of the coat ripped into shreds with blood mixing with the snow and ice chunks. He was cradling one arm in the other one and mumbled something through his frozen lips that he needed help. Mom called him by name and helped him into the house where she set him at the kitchen table, then proceeded to cut what glove was left, off of him, and get the coat removed and a blanket wrapped around him. She run a pan of cold water and made him stick both hands in it which quickly turned a bloody red while she run another pan full. This continued until he was able to stand when she led him to the kitchen sink where the loose skin was cut off his hand under cold running water. I just stood and stared at him, while an ointment dressing was applied and it was bandaged. I was afraid but very interested in how this monster came into our lives and what my Mom was doing to him and why she wasn’t afraid too. I was sure he couldn’t hurt us because he was so weak, but that didn’t make me totally comfortable. I was instructed to call the camp who got ahold of Dad on the base radio, who then came right home and helped the guy change into some of Dad’s dry clothes, and they then hauled him to town to see Doc. Wallace….He was only one of many “monster’s in ice” who came to our door including man and beast alike, of which all were brought inside and taken care of.   It turns out this particular man was an oil field worker who had caught his gloved hand in an engine and he was very lucky it was not taken completely off, or that his whole self was not drug into the engine..... His pickup had refused to start, so he walked a couple of miles to our house for help as many before him and after him did.

Around Christmas time especially, there was always a ten gallon water can full of eggnog with “special flavorings” and spices kept outside the back door and a cup of it warmed to serve anyone who stopped by….. Hot, freshly baked goodies were made and served almost on a daily basis. There was always someone getting stuck or sliding off the road, or one of the area workers who couldn’t get his pickup started, or who needed to call for extra help out to one of the leases and would show up at our door on foot asking to use the phone.

With all of the misery of winter, it was also full of fun and beauty…..The trees along the creek were usually covered in ice resembling a winter wonderland and a place where any Santa would have been proud to call home. It held a mysterious aura as everything went to sleep and slumber.  The creek itself changed into a strange shape as ice formed along the banks sending it in directions we’d never seen before. There was an ever changing appearance every time we drove across the bridge to town.

Across the road from our house, we had an old well that fed into a slush pond at the bottom of the hill. A slush pond was a huge pit dug at the time the well was drilled and kept there to hold excess oil that spilled from the wells….. the hill it set at the bottom of, was our favorite sledding hill, but it didn’t take long to learn that we had to stop the sled before reaching the reaching the slush pond. More than once, I didn’t get stopped in time and went feet first right into the pond……Drenched in oil, my snow suit and boots were ruined, but that only made it all the more fun and challenging……

The big snows brought the opportunity of driving thru drifts on either side of the road higher than the cars, and snow caves made where ever one could find enough snow to make one. Our neighbors about 5 miles to the west and south had a real pond on their property where we learned to ice skate.   Other winter activities included Icicles that were broken off the eaves of the house and measured between the kids in the neighborhood to see who had the longest. Making "snow" ice cream, snowmen and angles in the snow.   

Dearest to my heart though of all the winter memories, are the men who made sure those rigs and old oil wells were kept running under inhumane circumstances so the rest of us could stay warm. Here’s to the monster’s in ice who carry on that job today……

Oyster Soup

You asked for it!   One more recipe and the answer to those who asked how this tradition came about and how we make it living so far from the coast!   As a side note, I would like to add that I've traveled the east coast from LA to Maine, on on up through Newfoundland and Labrador, and by far the best fresh oysters are to be found in Biloxi MS.   Since the destruction of most all the oyster beds during "Katrina", they are rebuilding and once again now providing the best oysters in the world.   Having friends in Biloxi, we can get them shipped easily, but the charges are outrageous, so it can only be done when one is feeling generous.....

Oyster soup

Several of my early ancestors, many generations back, came from the New Orleans, LA area. We’re pretty sure that’s where the “oyster stew” tradition started. I can remember my great, great aunt, who died back in the early 50’s saying that “fresh oysters” were so much better, but since we couldn’t get them, the canned ones would do fine. Fresh is wonderful, but sadly, not usually available in Colorado……However; a couple of times I have been able to get fresh shipped, and have made it with fresh. It just depends on what is available to you. I was still taught by the expert, (my old aunt) to make it the same way, only using canned oysters.

Amounts of all ingredients depend on how many oyster’s you use. For a full pot to be served to 12 plus people I usually use 8 small cans…..
Pour the oyster liquor into a fair sized pot – set the oysters aside
Saute a few ribs of chopped celery, and a tiny bit of chopped onion in butter until softened.
Add the celery, onion and a stick or two of butter to the oyster liquor and warm over low heat.
When the butter is melted, add a quart or two of half & half to the oyster liquor ….then add milk if more is needed……
Add salt and pepper to taste……fresh cracked pepper is best
This is the basic stew base……Bring the soup only to a “scald” temperature.

( I was taught that a proper scald, can only be determined by holding your little finger in the cream/milk mixture until you cannot hold it there any longer). This is the only true test.  Do NOT allow it to boil, and it has to be just at the right moment, before a simmer.

Admitting there is “so much more”, taste is always the determining factor…..Add only enough cream/milk to blend the oyster liquor in proportion to your taste…..too much will kill it,, not enough will make the oyster liquor overpowering.
When the milk base reaches the scald, you add the oysters……Like with any fish, they do not need to cook a long time……
Keep the heat very low and just allow the oysters to heat thru or if using fresh oysters, cook until the edges of the oysters begin to curl…..(This should not take over 5 minutes if that long). You do not want the cream base to burn, so keep the heat low and the cream base moving…. Turn the fire off when you think the oysters have cooked enough. At this point I add a little dried or fresh chopped parsley…… Cover and let it set for another 5 minutes. Serve in a pretty bowl with a small sprig of fresh parsley and fresh cracked pepper as a garnish…… Have a big bowl of crackers on the table!.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Peppernuts!

This is such a funny little cookie....  They're great to have around during the holidays, and one recipe will make a ton of them......They're very addictive and one can't help but dip in the bowl for a handful every time you walk by.....:)  They're also in the candy picture, in the big crock behind the wrapped taffy's.

Peppernut Cookies

1 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
2 cups brown sugar
5 eggs
6 to 7 cups flour
1 tsp soda & 1 tlbs. hot water
2 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cream of tarter
2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. anis oil
3 cups walnuts  (put in blender to chop fine)
1 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Mix all ingredients.  Chill dough for an hour at least or over night.  Cut a slice off the dough and roll thin like a pencil.   Slice into tiny chunks  (tip of little finger size or smaller).
Bake at 350 for aprox. 10 minutes or until lightly brown.

Candy Recipes

By request, following are three of my favorite candy recipes.   Before starting either recipe, butter the plate or pan you'll put it on, chop the nuts....and have all ingredients sitting out close by.

As with any recipe.......Practice - Practice - Practice!   If at first you don't succeed try and try again....Many things can affect candy making......weather, mixer power, time of beating, time of cooling, learning when to pour it, temperatures, etc....  I've had many failures while learning, but just don't give up! The perfect batch makes it all worth it.   One request.......Think of "tarzan" when you're eating it......:) and let me know how it turns out!

Twice Cooked Divinity

4 cups of white sugar
4 egg whites - stiffly beaten
1 cup of white corn syrup
1 cup cold water
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts

To begin with you need a large very powerful mixer with a large bowl......and a reliable candy thermometer. 
Beat egg whites to very stiff peaks
Cook syrup, water, sugar & salt to a medium ball stage at 240 deg..
While beating, pour 1/3 of the syrup mixture over the egg whites, beating constantly, and continue beating thru the next step:
Cook the remaining syrup mixture to a hard ball stage at 265 deg..
Beat the remaining syrup into the first candy mixture.
Cool this for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  
Add 2 tsp. vanilla and nuts.....when mixture begins to stiffen, pour into pan or onto a large, buttered plate.   Let set until cool enough to cut.    


Old Fashioned Fudge

3 cups white sugar
2/3 cups cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups half & half
1/3 cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts

Combine sugar, cocoa, & salt in a 4 or 5 quart heavy saucepan.   Stir in milk.   Cook, stirring constantly until it boils.  Then cook without stirring to soft ball stage.  Turn off heat, add butter & vanilla.   Let set - Do not stir - Let set until cool.   Beat, add nuts and when it starts to stiffen, pour onto plate.   Let cool and cut into squares.


Aunt Bill's Candy
recipe written exact as from my Grandmother's old cookbook, then rewritten and sent to my Mother probably in the early 1940's  *Difficult & Detailed
(note "cost" at the bottom).

6 cups white sugar
2 cups half & half
1/4 lb. butter
1/4 teas. soda
1 tbls. vanilla
4 cups chopped walnuts

Place 2 cups sugar in heavy skillet over low heat.  Stir with wooden spoon, keep sugar moving so it won't burn.   When sugar has begin to melt, pour the remaining sugar & cream in a deep heavy pan, place over low fire and cook slowly.

When burnt sugar is melted and a light brown color, pour into the pan of boiling milk and sugar.   Keep on very low heat and stir constantly.....pour a fine stream.  Cook until it forms a "firm" base in cold water.   turn out fire and add soda, stir hard and fast as it foams up.   Add butter & place in a cool place for 10 minutes.   Add vanilla and start beating by hand.   Beat until mixture is thick and heavy with a dull appearance.  Add nuts and pour into buttered pan.   Cut into squares and pack in a tin box.   Recipe makes about 6 pounds at 45 cents per pound.



 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Night

Night
Beautiful black
Closing out the world
And the world rejoices
Doors are locked
Bringing peace of the day
And so much more
Time for reflection
And for ending
Time for celebration
And for rest
Time for renewal and respite
And for hope
Night
The time you can see light
Light lives against the backdrop of
Night
Beautiful black
A jewel in it's own right

Merry Christmas!

Vegetable Wreath

Christmas Eve Supper



















And so much more..... Ham, Oyster stew, salads, desserts

A Table full of Christmas Candy

and so much more, Aunt Bills, Divinity, Fudge, Peanut Brittle

Holiday Traditions

It’s that time of year again…I’m always late getting in the holiday spirit, but late is ok… When the urge finally hits, I will get it all done! 

We follow a lot of traditions… As a kid I always went to the grandparents house, one for Christmas Eve, and one for Christmas day. Christmas eve was always very special, though very simple. We had an oyster soup supper, usually a few fresh veggies, a big bowl of crackers, a plate of cheese, a jello salad, and dessert was saved until after the gifts were opened. Without fail after we were all seated at the long dining room table enjoying our soup, my Granddad and Uncle would suddenly remember they hadn’t fed or watered some of the livestock… They would excuse themselves to go do the chores. It was sad because they always missed the most exciting time of the evening…. The rest of us tackle the food before us, and soon after starting, we would hear this strange noise on the roof, and someone would always say in a very startled manner…”Oh listen! What is that noise”? It was very scary, but we would then all jump up and run to the doors and windows to look outside…seeing nothing, we would go back to the table and finish our soup. By then the chores were done and my Granddad and Uncle would return and as they re-entered the house would exclaim that there was a huge sack sitting on the back porch, we kids were told to go out and drag it in…When discovered it was a gunny sack full of presents, they were spread under the tree and of course it we realized then it was Santa we had heard making all that noise on the roof earlier! I always just felt so bad that my Granddad & Uncle had to work and didn’t hear it…. They always swore they didn’t hear or see a thing because they were out in the barn…. Both of them now passed, I think often of what a wonderful time we had when times were so simple.

The tradition of the oyster soup on Christmas eve has continued throughout my life and I still fix it every year, I usually serve a ham with it and some other goodies, but it remains the main, central traditional focus of our meal….

Christmas this year seems so strange to me…I really do not remember last Christmas , of 2007, and got thru it only because I was simply led around…. I had just went thru the surgery in November with the diagnosis of the cancer, and last year’s holidays are simply a blur… I was amazed the other day when I went to the garage to bring in all the decorations…last year I had wrapped everything in newspaper when putting it away, and used duct tape to secure it…. like I wasn’t planning on ever using it again? So, this year, I’ve had to spend a lot of time unpacking everything with the knowledge that there will probably be many more Christmas’s to enjoy…

For many years, we could not even think about shopping for the kids until hubby got his Christmas bonus at work, which was usually only a few days before Christmas….That found us trying to do all of it one evening. There were many Christmas eve’s when it meant getting out on the roads in a blizzard to find our way to town…hurrying to finish before the stores closed, staying up most all night to get them wrapped and ready for our celebration the next evening. The first year we had moved from our little old home town, we had heard of this wonderful new mall in the big city about 2 hours from us…. This would have been in 1966. Never having been in a mall before we had no idea what one was but everyone said we should go there to do our shopping. Upon arrival, we drove into this huge parking lot that was filled with cars, but we didn’t see any people! Finally we found our way into a store, looked around for awhile, didn’t see what we wanted, went back outside and trudged on to the next one…….. then eventually worked our way to the front of it...then we seen the mall!   There were all the people that belonged to all those cars outside! We were amazed... talk about a couple of hicks, we had no clue until we seen it, that a mall was what it was…..You mean we could shop inside in all of those stores and not have to go outside? We’ve had many laughs over our first visit to a mall in the years since then.

Other traditions include our candy making… The first few years we were married, we didn’t have much money, so we made batches of divinity for sale…. I hung a notice down at the post office and here came the orders…. Making it the old fashioned way, it does take two people, so hubby and I would stay up late at night making it, hand beating it, and boxing it up for delivery the next day… Though we no longer sell it, we still have to make some every year.

My Mother used to make “aunt bills” candy (I have no idea how it got that name, because I don't have an "Aunt Bill",  but in WWII she would make it and send it to the troops in our family….brother & brothers in law & cousins.  I still have a letter one of my uncles wrote from a fox hole somewhere in France. He said the box of candy he had gotten at mail call the day before had been the most wonderful surprise and he had shared it with a few of his buddy's because they would be moving on the next day and he wouldn't be able to take it with him. He wrote about being cold, wet, sick, tired and hungry, as rations were running low. He said when he opened the box of candy it was like God really had heard his prayers. He talked about that being his favorite Christmas present of all time until the day he died.

I had not tried making “aunt bill’s” candy by myself, until after my Mom had died, so the first Christmas afterwards, I called my sis and told her if she and I didn’t make it, it would be our first Christmas ever without it. I bought all the ingredients, she came over and we followed the old recipe as best we could. You have to caramelize sugar and pour it into boiling milk.   As we did that, it all globbed up into this big mess and we were sure we had ruined the whole thing, so we just stopped and dumped that batch….. Tried again, and that time we poured a smaller stream of the sugar, turned the boil down to a simmer, and lo and behold, with constant stirring and a lot cussing, praying, giggles, and tears, it finally dissolved and we eventually turned out a perfect batch of wonderful creamy caramel, nutty candy….. Since then, I try to do at least one batch a year and always think of my Mom and my Uncle when I’m doing it.

The first year we started our business, we wanted to do something special for our customers, but could not afford the fancy coats & hats that our competition always gave out…..so I came up with the bright idea of making each of our really good customers a box of candy….. For two weeks prior to Christmas, I made batches of candy every day and filled a box for each customer with rows of divinity, peanut brittle, aunt bill’s, and fudge. It was given with love, accepted with love, and commented on for many years after that. My hands will no longer allow me to do that much beating, so the days of making very much candy are over, but we still have to get thru at least one batch of each of our favorites with loving memories…..

This year I am once again with the world, and one of these days soon the Christmas spirit will hit me……I’ll get excited, go shopping, wrap the presents, plan the meals, cook, put up the tree, put out the decorations, get out the Christmas music, make candy, and so much more,  and love every minute of the rushing around……. Until then, I’m just wondering why everyone else is in such a hurry! It’s only the 10th! 

One thing for sure, Christmas just would not be Christmas without the traditions I hold dear in my heart…..

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Treasure Hunter

“The treasure hunter” dug until his fingers were raw and bleeding, he had given up his home, his faith, his family, any enjoyments he once had, and most of his life. He had heard that in a particular location there were treasures buried deeply that could make him a rich man for the rest of his life. He had spent years going after it, only to be discouraged again and again.

He dug and scratched below him constantly, pushing aside piles of waste on his way to the treasure. The first layer he had removed only gave him clues to what else may lay beneath, so after removing that first layer, he continued digging. The next layer held nothing, but he had to keep on….layer after layer, then another and another. His heart told him he was getting closer to uncovering the secret treasure, and he was not about to give up…. The days passed and he went furiously deeper and deeper. At one point he discovered side tunnels… Turning to one of them he reached a dead end, he had discovered nothing and it had only used up his time. Taking another one, it led to dangers he was not expecting, and almost collapsed the main tunnel, so he quickly turned away from that and went back to the first hole, digging downward, deeper and deeper again, creating a mountain of removed waste beside him.

After many years, and layer after layer, he reached yet another layer and he found one jewel! He was sure there would be more if only he could keep digging. He threw that one aside and sure enough, another layer revealed another jewel, beneath that was another jewel, but why only one jewel on each layer? He continued to dig, and kept finding a jewel here and there. One after another, he threw each one aside and kept digging. Where was the whole treasure chest? His time and efforts would be worth nothing unless he had it all. He learned much while digging, he learned better ways and discovered better tools and better technics. He was the best digger in the area.

He noticed others digging around him also. Some had a lot of help; some had hardly any tools and no sustenance to dig very fast or very far. A lot of them did not have the resources he had. Usually they stopped early and left. Some returned to dig a few more days, then leave again. He did not appreciate their apparent lack of commitment. If they were happy with what they had, fine. He was not, and he would not stop until he had found the whole chest.

Finally he struck a barrier he could not move….he tried going around it and could not find the end. He tried using different tools and still he could not penetrate it. It was time to come to grips with the fact that he may never find the treasure, he could go no further. His tools were wearing out, he had nothing else left in his life to turn to.

However; he did have some options remaining, …..He could ask for help, but then he would have to expose his technics, it would cost him a lot, and he would have to share the treasure when he found it. He could just set and wait, and maybe eventually the answers and the next move would come to him, or he could keep digging. It was not in him to just quit. He had survived untold hardships over the years, hardships that would put a lesser man down and he was not about to stop now.

One day another man, who I will call “the discoverer”, came along and found the treasure hunter’s body lying beside the hole and the mountain of layers he had removed over the years. The treasure hunter had died while scratching at the surface with his fingernails for what he believed to be the final barrier keeping him from the treasure. Since all of his tools had worn out and he could not afford more or come up with any other ideas, his fingers were all he had left to dig with.

The discoverer leaned over and picked up a tiny jewel… He checked it all over for any clues as to where it might have came from, or if it held any inscriptions, and what it’s worth might be. The discoverer stuck it in his pocket an walked away……

A couple of years later, the discoverer found the jewel in a drawer where he had thrown it when he returned home. He took it out, turned it over in his hand, and remembered back to the treasure hunter and wondered again what the significance of the tiny jewel might be, and decided to return to the treasure hunter’s location.

When he arrived on the site of the dig, he took time to search the surface of the ground around the hole very closely.  With each movement, he noticed another tiny jewel, and then another, and another. They were no larger than a grain of sand, but they were jewels! He begin to sort through the mountain of loose dirt the treasurer hunter had created by his digging, and tiny jewel after tiny jewel begin to appear. By the end of the day, he had a sack full…..by the end of the week, he had a truck load, by the end of the month, he had so many jewels he was indeed a rich man. Some of the jewels had been dug up and tossed aside many years before and had gone unnoticed for decades. A few of the jewels were newly discovered, but had been covered with just a thin layer of dirt hiding their glistening worth.  Indeed, they had come from the treasure hunter’s digging, but tossed aside as he was going after the “whole chest” that lay at the bottom.

The discoverer was amazed as he started to tally up what he had found. It totaled more riches than he ever imagined he would have! He stood in awe at the wealth before him.

As he surveyed the scene around him, he thought if the treasure hunter had only stopped and counted how much he had found along the way, he would have been able to afford some help or new tools! If he had counted up how much he had before he started and those which he had already found, but overlooked in his furry and desperation for more, he would have realized that no chest full could have held as much. If he had looked around at others who were also digging nearby, he would have seen how thankful they were to have found one jewel, and how it had improved their lives a great deal from what they had before. By counting their blessings, and the jewels they had already found, they were able to keep digging at a slower pace, fully appreciate each layer's treasures, and enjoy life while they continued. If the treasure hunter had taken time to look at what he had, congratulated himself on surviving all that he had been through, and appreciated each layer he uncovered to it's utmost, it would have made whatever he was going after, much less important.   The treasure chest is not always what holds the most, there is always so much more to discover along the way.   To survive one more layer is nothing if we don't savor each of it's lessons.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Birthdays with Love

November 15th, 1943.......November 15th, 2008

I will officially be 65 on this date. I know, it says in the profile I wrote a couple of months ago when I set up my blog, that I was 65. You see I was just practicing. For a year now, I have been waiting on this date, so it was like I was writing the age as a dare. A gamble of sorts, would I really reach 65? I did. This is one birthday I will honestly celebrate.

Birthdays have never been a big deal to me. I have so many friends and family members who send cards, and never forget birthdays. I am really lax in that. Normally, birthdays just do not seem to be very important to me, but for many reason’s, this one is.

I made it! I really have lived thru 65 years! Wow!

65, very interesting, sometimes bad, mostly good, all of them very full years.

A couple of the pictures below show “reflection”. Looking at something through a different tool of vision.

To borrow a favorite line from the song, “Memories”, “in the corner of my mind, misty water colored memories”, written by A.L. Webber. Misty indeed, and how obviously they change in appearance when you look back. Frayed edges, blurry images, distant observations, but there. They are always there. They are what I am.

Parts of them I like, parts of them I don’t.

Being 65 means that even though my mind can pretend I’m still 25, my body tells me different. Being 65 means I can now have less expensive health care and receive my social security! Being 65 means I walk slower. Being 65 means my kids and grandkids look at me as an “older person”. Being 65 means I know some things younger people don’t. Being 65 means I’ve had more fun and more heartaches for a longer period of time than many have had. Not worse or better fun and heartaches, just more of them. Being 65 means I have cooked more meals than others, washed more clothes, ate more meals, and walked further than “most” of those younger than I.

I remember there being two previous birthdays that stands out as being special. The first one was when I turned 30. I remember thinking at the time, “this is the end of my youthful, carefree days, and that proved to be true. I could no longer claim innocence or ignorance for my mistakes. It was time to grow up. The other one was at age 50. Age 50 was when I realized I would probably not become a millionaire, or have the perfect life most of us can only dream about. By then our dreams had been shattered many times and we were still rebuilding our future. Saying all of the above, I have had a very special person beside me for every one of those birthdays...... For 47 years, Jim has been right there with me on each of them and every day between them. I could not have made them without him, as he is a huge part of my growing with each and every day we have spent together. Even though my old body is not as attractive as it once was, even though I've not always been pleasant to be around, and even tho his "child bride" has changed considerably, he is still there, encouraging me to continue on to become 66 and even more. I am now officially his "old lady".... :), and I am so proud to be so!

At age 65 the future is shorter. It could still hold a lot of surprises, but if they’re bad, I won’t have to suffer through them as long. That in itself makes my reflection of 65 years become a thing to celebrate! To all of you who have put up with me over these years, or even a part of these years…thank you. Don’t think you’ve got it made though; there is still so much more to come, and I dare you to join me for the remainder of the journey. 

Happy Birthday Me!
(And love to you all).

The Past Year

With my birthday on Nov. 15th, and the anniversary of the diagnosis of cancer on Nov. 30th 2007, looming near, I think back to the past year. Following the diagnosis of cancer, the first 6 months are literally a blur. After the first couple of months of fear, testing, surgery, and recovery from all that, I remember becoming aware one day that I had not done the laundry for a while. It occurred to me that even if you have cancer you still have to take care of the dirty underwear… gathering, washing, drying, folding and preparing to use it again, and again, and again. It was a simple revelation, and the beginning of my recovery.

I remember the first time I went somewhere by myself following the sickness and surgery. For several months my husband or kids had driven me to all of the doctor’s appointments, errands to run, etc. Even though the first time out by myself, I was so frightened, I gained strength by making myself face a challenge. I was beyond happy, and loved every moment of my freedom and sense of accomplishment when I returned home that day.

I remember the frustration of being out of control. It was not within my personality to not have control. When dealing with cancer, you quickly learn you have no control of the outcome, and you have to do what others recommend even though it may be terribly hard to do. There were other, tiny, baby steps along the way.... accepting the scar, I was so protective of that area for a long time. Accepting a new responsibility of checking for lumps, accepting new words into my vocabulary, accepting other's nervousness when they learned of my condition. A year later, it seems like I've taken a million tiny steps. It would not be honest not to write something about that on it's anniversary.

However with that loss of control you come to acceptance. A friend reminded me today that we have many levels of acceptance, and I had never looked at it that way… It is probably a good thing that by design in human nature, that we never totally accept anything to do with life or death. Otherwise we stop growing and searching and learning and experiencing. Thank you Ed, for reminding me of that. When we accept, we accept only to a certain level and there is always so much more.

When I think back over the past year, each day brought a new level of acceptance. Accepting that I had been sick but I was still alive and there was more expected of me. Accepting that there was still a need for my life. Accepting that my life had changed. Accepting that I am more vulnerable than I had previously imagined. Accepting that I can do more than I thought I could. Accepting that my loved ones really did not mind the extra attention they had to give me and that they needed to give me. Accepting that others really do care, and allowing them to express that. Accepting that life is what it is, that I can change some parts of it, but accepting the things I have no control over, and making the best of those. Finally accepting that I have accepted some levels of acceptance, and that I must keep trying to accept those levels to come, no matter their challenges.

I think that’s the level of where this past year has brought me. When I escaped the fog, and the darkness, and the crowded jungle in my mind, and begin to enter the clearing where I could see the vines, I knew there would be more places ahead where it would be harder to see. I now appreciate the clearing I am in. The past year was hard, but in many ways the past year was so enlightening, as through a very hard lesson, I realized the past year has given me strength and bravery I didn’t know I had.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Perception

Perception - the neurological process of observation and interpretation.

In one instant planes out of nowhere flew into buildings, another crashed to the ground and in total they ended 3,000 lives and destroyed our security. From that day on, we have lived under an umbrella of fear. We even had a color chart to tell us which level of fear we should feel.. We have given over 4,000 of our best and brightest lives because of that fear, so now the total is 7,000 United States lives gone, with untold thousands more affected. We had our dreams shattered, our candles extinguished, our privacy invaded with the implementation of new eavesdropping techniques. We have been reminded over and over again about how “they” could come and get us again. Our economy is in shambles. We have been convinced that we must live in fear.

Perception - the neurological process of observation and interpretation.

We just elected a new President of the United States. He has been president elect for barely five days. He has done nothing, he’s not even legally able to to yet…… Still, the mood of the country changed almost overnight. People are already speaking of hope for the future, I see them with smiles on their faces, they are discussing plans and solutions to problems. They seem to believe in life again and how it can be better. Even the skeptics seem to want to believe. Though nothing has actually changed, and our problems are the same as they were 5 days ago, there is an obvious perception that we just might be alright after all….

Perception - the neurological process of observation and interpretation.


Compare cancer to 9-11 and the fear our country has lived in since. Cancer patients who have been through learning they have cancer, were attacked by an outside invader. We were fine one day, then without a moments notice, the plane flew into the building. The base was destroyed, and our lives changed forever. And then……and then…..treatments, misery, desperation, loneliness, remission, left to fend on their own while rebuilding their lives, the fear and helplessness tried hard to over take them.

Perception - the neurological process of observation and interpretation.


Perception - A cancer patient's tool.
"Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional"
- Kathleen Casey Theisen

Determination, acceptance, time, hearing an encouraging word, hard work, more time, a renewal of faith, a particular doctor’s words, testing, more hard work, more time, a faded memory, a smile from a friend, a diminished nightmare, a hug from a family member, tears, a good day, a better day, a step forward, a day without pain, a ray of hope, a brief moment of belief.

Perception - the neurological process of observation and interpretation.

The difference from one day to another, though nothing really changed. More time, another encouraging word, one good day and so much more. We perceive a much better day ahead, and have been given a moment of hope. A realization that we can not constantly live in fear and accomplish anything…. That world without fear….It’s such a nice place to be.


The Whole Picture


Several have commented or emailed me on the close up of the leaves lying within the little pool of water in the rock.   To give you a better idea of what the whole area looked like, I'm including this picture.   It only lends proof that there is always "so much more"

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fall


Since Colorado is not known for our beautiful trees, I so enjoyed our trip to the Northeast in the fall months a couple of years ago.   While there I took countless pictures, and just want to share a few of my favorites.   At the time, I emailed this first one to some friends and family with the comment "I didn't know God made pink trees".   Indeed, He does, and my eyes could barely absorb all of the colors we seen.






Looking up, as in the second picture, seemed to become my favorite position as it opened my vision and dreams and the world beyond.



















I love this picture for it's depth, there is always

so much more when you look past what's in front of you.




















The next picture is without a doubt my all time favorite.
There is nothing equal to reflection..... in nature, and in ourselves.
These pictures were taken at the "screw auger falls", near 
Grafton notch in New Hampshire.   There is so much more, and 
even beauty, in just a pile of dead leaves........
These had fallen off the trees into small pools indented
in flat, smooth rock surrounding the falls.


















And last but not least, my own "tri-color" painting in our back yard
The Aspen, the Maple, and the Evergreen....in all their glory.

Chores

As a little girl, I had all the normal chores to do that other kids did, help with the dishes, keep my room cleaned, sweeping off the porch, etc. (and usually drug my feet on all of them). However; all the kids I went to school with were “farm kids”. Therefore, they had “other” chores that they actually earned money for, like gathering eggs, cleaning the barn, feeding livestock, milking etc. I didn’t have any farm duties to do, so therefore I didn’t make anything extra. I complained to my folks about this once at which time they came up with a chore for me on washday.  From then on it would be my job to lay Dad’s “greasers” out on the sidewalk and sprinkle them with solvent to soak before washing. Dad’s greasers were “khakis’” matching pants and shirts made from heavy 100% cotton, that he wore to work every day. Every evening he would come home after work with them literally soaked in grease.  These were kept in a separate basket from all of our other clothes.

Every week, usually on Monday’s before school, it was my job to carry the greasers outside, summer and winter, spread each piece out, with the pants and shirts lined up and down the sidewalk, sprinkle them completely with solvent, where they were left to dry before washing. In the winter, often times the snow had to be shoveled first.    They were then gathered up and carried to the "washhouse". This building we called the wash house, was an old tin roofed shed where the Maytag wringer washer set.  When home in the summer time, I put Dad’s greasers in the washer, then Mom would come out, fill the tub with the hose, and get them started washing. I was not allowed near the ringer, as more than one housewife in those days accidentally mangled fingers and hands if they got caught in it. After everything was washed, rinsed, and run thru the ringer, it was also my job to hand them to Mom from the basket on the ground so she could hang them on the clothes line to dry. On bad days in the winter, rope was strung around the shower room, where they were hung with a little gas heater placed in there, and the door kept shut so the heat would dry them.

Throughout the community it was always a challenge, and almost a contest to see which oilfield housewife’s laundry hanging on the line looked the nicest.  For a stranger to this process, to drive by and see a long line of clothes laying up and down the sidewalks in front of the houses would have appeared strange to say the least, but more than once I remember riding by the “camp” and hearing the comment that “ well it looks like Fay, or Jenny or Elsie is doing laundry today”. Therefore, getting those work clothes totally soaked with the solvent mixture was very important, and I was so proud as a little girl to get to have a part in the process.

When we traveled thru the small towns in Mexico a few years back, it brought a smile to my face as I seen the clothes lines behind every house filled with sparkling white’s and bright colored clothes, many of them done by hand on washboards, and not always with the luxury of clear, clean water. Even with today’s automatic dryers, you will often see sheets and other items hanging on clotheslines of all kinds, across America.

The clotheslines in those days were made with a tall piece of pipe buried in the ground with a shorter piece welded to it forming a “T” at each end with wire strung between them. The pipe was a perfect place for wasps to build their nests, which also brought the challenge of keeping yourself from getting stung in the summer time. Like everything else, the clotheslines required maintenance. Dad would have to get the wire stretcher out a couple times a year to tighten it where it wouldn’t sag, and the poles had to be painted every spring.

Even with such a simple task as laundry, there is always so much more than meets the eye. Washday in my memories offers a vision of pride and gives me a sense of accomplishment, even when I think of it today.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

not just my words

President Elect of the United States of America
Barack Obama

“America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is
SO MUCH MORE TO DO. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made"?   This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.

tarzan

 I feel so good tonight knowing that I will wake up in the morning with a leader who understands that there is always "so much more" out there, and who will reach out to the people to encourage them to always search for and do so much more......(maybe even beyond their wildest dreams).   



Monday, November 3, 2008

"Un-day"

For years, Monday was the “dreaded day”, we knew what lie ahead……..back to the job, putting up with demands from the bosses and society in whole, co-workers and family members in bad moods as they also had to return to the world. It meant telling the weekend days of Saturday and Sunday goodbye, with their lazy mornings when the alarm did not go off, the glorious two days of each week that allowed us to enjoy home or have fun with friends and family. Monday’s meant kicking the brain back into gear, taking on problems, solving problems, catching up on what was left over from the week before, and putting forth an effort to survive the next five days.

When my sister and I retired approximately a year apart, we were both so used to meeting the dreaded Monday’s head on, it was very hard to get used to the idea that we would not be expected to show up anywhere or do whatever someone told us to do, or whatever we knew we had to do.  In learning how to cope with retirement, we vowed to never have to go through another Monday……. instead, it became our “UNDAY”. This meant we could now enjoy our Mondays without the usual connotations, which they had carried for so many years.

Our “UNDAY’s” have become just that – a total UN day. A day in which we can choose to ignore the world if we so choose, a day we can devote to ourselves if we want to, without guilt of not meeting an ordered deadline. We make a point of emailing each other to say “happy unday” at the beginning of each week.

Just because “life” does go on, If one of us happens to find ourselves forced by circumstances to be associated with rest of the world, (such as a dental or doctor’s appointment, or an obligation of any kind), we still reserve the right to get through it by disassociation. It’s quite ok and within our rules, to “zone out” an unpleasant task by pretending in our minds that we can survive it if we’re not really there in our minds.   We can allow the mind to take a break! As the dentist’s drill drones on, I can wander through a path of daisy’s, or climb to the top of a mountain, or silently swim with the dolphins

Monday’s have now become a day I look forward to…….. There have been a few times since we started our “undays”, that I have had to flash back to the old Mondays and make myself remember what they were like. The dread and the challenges we faced to get going on the week and all of it’s demands. I do, still remember how bad some of those Mondays were as there was always so much more to them than I cared to acknowledge. The very word Monday held unforeseen testing of one’s abilities, intellect, and energies. I associated Monday with “survival”. I no longer do that.

Being Ostrich like and sticking your head in the sand can be healthy at times, it’s not a place we want to stay in, as Tuesdays are right around the corner, when you are more capable of adapting to the new week, and more able to face the task ahead. Acceptable or not, you will find freedom by ignoring life for awhile. It’s also ok, to make your unday on Wednesday! Or on any day you just don’t want to, or find yourself unable to cope.

Retired or not, and no matter your personal situation, it’s ok to look beyond the name of a day, as there is so much more when you allow it to become something else. I hope you’ll join me in the celebration of this UN-DAY. Make it what you want it to be!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Apple Pie


Apple Pie...I wish I could share this with all of you.  I baked a fresh apple pie last Saturday, to serve friends coming for dinner.    I had it covered with a towel as we ate our meal, then after I cleared the dinner plates,  I brought it forth and placed it in the middle of the table....I told them we had to set there and contemplate it's worthiness while waited on the coffee to finish.

I love anticipation....... especially of home baked goodies.   I, being the cook, never knows how a particular dish will turn out as food has a way of having it's own mind.  All apples are different, some more tart, some juicier, some tough, and some tender.......did I add enough sweetening and spices?   Did the apples get done?   Is the crust flaky enough?   

As the first piece was sliced and lifted on to the plate, warmed in the microwave and topped with ice cream and set before my guests, I held my breath as each took a taste.......
Watching the expression on their faces, told me this one was a success.    (I have had my failures) but they did not discourage me, I have always kept trying in life to reach perfection.   I've never completely enveloped it, but this came close.  

 Is there really so much more to life than apple pie?   I might have to argue that point..... In my mind, nothing gives my inner soul as much satisfaction as completing a home made meal. Putting simple items together....flour and shortening, rolling it out smooth, peeling fruit, adding sugar and spice and combining it all together, and ending up with dish full of pride.   If you've never baked an apple pie, or made a batch of cinnamon rolls, or a loaf of bread, or baked a cake from scratch.......I urge you to try.   It is the end to all means........

I send you a piece of my pie and my love, I can't think of a better way to express it.

The Hiker

He pitched his tent high in the mountains
With plans to follow the stream come morning
Drifting off to sleep neath clear, starlit skies
Feeling comfort and faith in nature soaring

Waking to sounds of ice falling 
Dawn of light showing layers of snow
The trail down and his path were covered
No guidance with what lay below

Nothing to guide him, but faith
To stay would mean certain death
Relying on his his own instincts
Fear sucked away his breath

A solid path covered in white
He knew not water from ground
Holes and dangers were hidden
Only trust as he was homeward bound.


I knew this hiker, he is my son and he indeed survived……The journey on foot that day was precarious at best. He was dressed only in light clothes wearing lightweight shoes. The storm had moved in quickly without warning, out of the seasonal norm, and left him vulnerable.  He was unprepared for the challenges he met that day. He did find his way down the mountain but with each step he took, he didn’t know if it would hold his weight, or take him over a cliff or into the icy hidden waters, as everything was level and white…… He hiked out on his own faith.

I think about his story a lot as we go thru life…… Sometimes we have no choice but to trust ourselves. We have very little to hold on to and very little to guide us. We can watch for the hidden dangers, and pray that God will see us thru but we have no obvious support. There is so much more to this story, but it’s message is to go forward no matter the dangers, no matter the measure of faith, no matter the outcome. Just keep going and hold tightly to your chances.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Back appointment

ok, I am home from the dr. I sure like him....I call him dr. B. Anyway, he had a copy of the cat scan that dr. cute had taken in May.....I don't know how he to knew to ask for that, but anyway. he had it, and he looked at it and he showed it to me. The back is still a mess and he understands why it hurts. What he wants to do is have me get another shot first.  (an epidural),  the first one I had two years ago didn't help, and he wants to make sure this one don't help either. (but who knows, maybe it will this time),   then when that's worn off he want's to do another MRI and then probably surgery. He showed us this new little gadget they have now, it's like a little "spacer". They make a tiny slit in the back and stick in this "spacer" made out of stainless steel & titanium in between the disc or somewhere, so the nerve can breathe again, and everybody in there is happy. He said they would put me to sleep, then do it and I'd have to stay overnight, but then they'd send me home the next day and it would help me walk again. It would hold my spine in a position flexed forward, where it was comfortable. ....... I'm pretty sure the reason he wants me to have the shot again is because the insurance would require it.     If he said lets do surgery tomorrow, the ins. company would say "well have you tried the shots"? SO - all of this is just routine. I think the MRI will show them better what the deal is when they actually take the pictures. He said the cat scans are great, but they don't show the 3D on the bone like the MRI's do. SO - the plan is the shot first and hope it works....If it does, for how long, and if it don't, then surgery. We'll take it a step at a time. If you don't understand any of this, don't worry, there is so much more to it, and I guess I'll just trust dr. B because I don't understand it either.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Out There
















Out There

I went out there again
I seen, I played, I tasted
I touched the world and joined in
I did not let a moment be wasted
I laughed with you.

You welcomed me again
You offered your time
You showed me, you taught me
You gave me your prime
You laughed with me.

The comfort is now with me again
The world is quiet and content
The security I yearned for is mine
The satisfaction was lent,
The open door awaited me, and I am home.

Oh boy, there really is “no place like home”. We’ve had such a great time but it’s so nice to be back here in our own little world.

It was fun to see our old friends again at the reunion, and the new outfit was perfect…..The balloon festival was wonderful and awesome, our hosts were gracious and loving.

Returning home brought unloading the car, unpacking, chores to catch up on, and, an opportunity for rest. I’m sure it won’t be long and we’re be ready to get “out there” again……There is always "so much more" out there, and, here........ah, home.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Country Doctor

We had one doctor in town, his name was “Doc. Wallace”. I remember him being old but I have no idea what his age would have been when I was a kid. Regardless he was either really old, or he had some kind of palsy, because his hands shook.

Doc Wallace had a little office on main street, it was nothing fancy, there was a waiting room but I don’t remember there being any kind of a receptionist. He hung a sign on the outside door if he was out, and if he was in, he hung a sign that said “busy” on his treatment room door. Most items he needed for treatment was on shelves in that room, but if he had to order a drug he called our local drugstore which was across the street.

I only remember using him twice. Once was when I came down with the mumps. I woke up with a fever and before long the side of my face was quite swollen. I was kept in bed and he was called at which time he offered to come out to the house because he needed to come that direction to see another patient anyway. He examined me, declared it as mumps and I don’t remember him giving me anything to take but told Mom I should put an ice pack on it, stay in bed and to keep me quiet until the swelling ws gone. I laid in bed for what seemed like a year, but it was probably not over two days. As soon as I decided the swelling had gone down, I was up and at 'em again. Getting yelled at of course by Mom not to overdo.

Not long after that, I felt feverish again and the other side swelled up! Mom didn’t call the doctor this time, but it was back to bed for me. Another year passed……..well, 2 or 3 more days passed and I was up and outside again. I, and my folks thought all was well, I had lived thru the mumps.

A few days later, here they came again, only this time I remember being really sick. Both sides of my neck and on down into my chest was swollen, I hurt badly. Back to bed with another ice pack and Doc Wallace was called again. This time he declared they had gone down on me, and I was to stay in bed and not move for a week, no matter how well I thought I felt!  He told me if I didn’t do what he said I would die. Since I felt like I was going to anyway, I didn’t argue with him.

Another year passed……….and finally, I was allowed up and out.

The only other time I remember seeing Doc Wallace was in his office in town. I had a spot on my upper forehead next to my hair line that kept itching, and then it moved downward towards my eyebrow. Mom figured it was ringworm and we tried “over the counter salves”. They didn’t work, and neither did the home remedies we tried. Then we went to town to have Doc. Wallace look at it. He set me down on a chair in his treatment room and turned around and took a bottle off his shelf. Then he set down right next me and stuck a cotton swab in the bottle. I remember the medicine was deep purple. He said to me, “now you must sit very still, because if get any of this in your eye you will be blinded” He told me not to move, not to even blink. I was scared by then, so I did what I was told.

There he came at me with his shaky hands telling me to sit still! I only remember thinking that you get any of that in my eye, it’s going to be your fault if I go blind, not mine! He smeared some of the medicine on it, then gave it another swab in about 15 minutes and I was sent home. Within a week the spot on my forehead was gone.

There was so much more to all the things old Doc Wallace did for our little community, I remember riding with Mom and Dad several different times when we would need to haul one of the oil field workers who had been injured into town to get them patched up. Eventually he closed his office, and our town never had another doctor. He was a wonderful person and missed by many.