Friday, August 10, 2012

Cancer Sucks!

The last year has been hard for me and my family. In December, we lost my cousin to Liver Cancer. My Aunt Donna passed away too. Then in May, my youngest brother, David passed away from Lung Cancer.

His wife and children have had a very rough time. I don't want to minimize their suffering by complaining about my own, so I will just say that the loss is palpable. It's always present. Grief is difficult.

Since then, my middle daughter and I began a quest to find the best health information that is out there. One of my grandson's has asthma and one has ADD. With heart disease in my genes, and now cancer, we wanted to research every avenue to better health.

What we discovered was in these two films:

Each of them are also available on Netflix Live Stream.

I really hope that anyone who reads this blog will take the time to watch these documentaries. The links to disease and diet are astounding. I do not understand why so much of this information is not well-known. The USDA, which is there for our protection, is not protecting us as they should.

Our family is adopting a primarily plant-based diet. We call ourselves Flexitarian because we occasionally eat animal based foods. We have eliminated dairy and I will only eat fish. The RGH is less stringent.

The conversion has been weird because I usually cook without recipes. I can't really do that now. However, I am not too old to learn new tricks. I hope to share some of my creations as time permits.

Meanwhile, please do not think this is a sales pitch. I am 'sharing'. You have to make your own choices.

As always, I wish you blessings,

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Dance of Depression

If you have never had depression, then the title of this post will probably confuse you. If you are like me, and have suffered bouts of depression most of your adult life, you will most likely, understand completely.

This past year has been an eventful, sometimes stressful, exhausting battle of time, patience, health and sad news. I knew I was in trouble months ago, when I couldn't seem to kick the pneumonia and it was getting harder and harder to do things that I didn't HAVE to do. I am not blaming anyone or anything. Life is hard. Sometimes life is VERY hard and we all have to do whatever is necessary to keep things in perspective.

When you have depression, your body doesn't keep enough of the good mood hormones in your system. Then something stressful happens and the body says, 'hold up, can't dance that fast'. If you are lucky, things calm down and maybe, big maybe, you will start to recover. But more often than not, that doesn't happen and you start to slip into the darkness that is depression.

I have been on medication for awhile now. In fact, I have been on medication lots of times in my life. My doctor told me this time that I may have to realize that I will need it for the rest of my life. Now I am not the type of person to take that kind of thing laying down. To take anti-depressants for the rest of my life is giving up, right? So in my small mind, I convinced myself that I would be able to live without it. So I quit taking it when I started to feel a little better.

Yeah, not the smartest decision I have made recently. 

I found out rather quickly that I wasn't any good without it right now. So I began again.

But the sinking continued.

I could not do anything that wasn't absolutely essential to survival. I wanted to watch The Hallmark Movie Channel or sleep all the time. I could only eat tomato soup and chips. I was on the verge of tears all the time. I didn't call my friends because I didn't want to bother them. I didn't do my nails, or get a massage or go for a walk because I could not imagine doing one more thing. Every little annoyance was gigantic. I could not see any light at the end of this long, dark tunnel.

I knew I was in trouble. I made another appointment with my doctor. Unfortunately, that took two weeks, but the RGH came home and at least I wasn't by myself all the time.

The doctor sent me for blood tests, which is what a good doctor does when something suddenly changes. I won't know the results until Wednesday, when I have my follow up appointment. But she changed me to a new medication. It's been 10 days now and I am starting to feel more normal again. Case in point, I am posting on my blog. 

I really struggled with writing about this. No one likes the world to know they aren't perfect all the time, or any of the time. I have a good life, a loving husband, no real financial issues, and good relationships with my family. What in the world do I have to be depressed about? 

Well, it isn't about that. 

Patti Digh posted something on Facebook recently that said we need to bring depression out of the closet and start talking about it. When I read that, I cheered inside because I was one of those who is hiding. I was one who was running from the stigma.

I needed to own it. 

So here I am:


Yes, I have had a stressful year. Yes, I have two close family members with 4th stage cancers. Yes, I have had health issues. But none of those things is the problem.

I have depression. I have danced with depression for 3 decades. I can manage it with medication and the occasional round of counseling. 

I am not flawed. I am human.

I am a child of God, beautifully created for his pleasure.

This isn't a fun post. It's not full of jokes and cute photos. It is my truth and I am speaking it in the hope that someone else might be able to speak theirs. If we all speak honestly, take our humanness out of the darkness, we will have a better world to live in.

What's your truth? What are you dancing with?


Saturday, September 3, 2011

30 Days of Lists

I know I promised photos from our trip to the Longhorn Restaurant and it will happen. I am trying to figure out how to get the photos from my iPhone to my computer without emailing them one at a time. UGH!

It has been a stressful few weeks, well the whole year actually, but we are talking recently right now. I have been trying to cut myself some slack and not 'should' on myself so much. You know, I should do this or I should do that. I give myself a lot of anxiety just should-ing.

My first thing was to start taking a quiet time with God every morning. I have been doing The 40 Days of Purpose and a New Testament reading program. I am on day 36 of 40 days but have to admit that during a visit to my brother's, I got a little behind on the book but kept up the New Testament. I did not beat myself up about it, I just picked up where I left off. And no, I did not do a bunch of days at once to catch up. The point is to get something out of it, to hear what God wants me to know, so I am taking my time. It is now a habit for me.

Yay for one thing down. So I was ready to start something else. Enter, 30 Days of Lists.

I began three days ago making my lists from the prompts but just got them all put onto pretty paper today. I am going for VERY SIMPLE. I don't want to overwhelm myself with pressures that are not important. It's really about the lists and documenting where I am right now. So without further ado, here is what I have done so far:

I fell in love with A Colorful Life papers and couldn't bear to cut them. They are 8x8 so I just used them whole to make my book of lists. I love how easy it is for me, how lovely it looks and how doable it is at this time in my life.

I was thinking I might have to make another People I Love page because, well I love so many people. These are just some of my family. I have more family and oh, so many friends. Anyway, the RGH is waiting to watch a movie with me so ta-ta for now.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hoover Dam with the Big J

I  finally got around to loading my photos on to the computer. Today, I am having what my grandson used to call a Ketchup Day. I told him once that Gramma was having a day to catch up and he coined the phrase 'Ketchup Day'. Of Course, I thought it was hilarious because, well, he IS my grandson. Everything he does is adorable. One of my Ketchup items is getting this blog post done. Checking it off!

We took the Big J to Hoover Dam while he was visiting with us. We had a great day and learned a lot of stuff that I quickly forgot because I didn't take notes. Our guide was kind of a jerk too and I wasn't to jiggy with paying attention to him anyway. But the Big J is sort of an info geek so he was absorbing every word.

We went down into the ground 54 stories. (Are they stories if you are going below the ground? I don't know.) We saw the transformers that crank out the electricity the dam provides to Southern Nevada, Arizona and California. Here is a photo of them, some even in action:

And check out the rock we were walking around inside:

We went deep into the ground. Pretty cool if you ask me. 

Once we had the full tour, we went back topside to walk around the dam and take some photos of Big J on the dam and with his feet in two different states.

Yes, that's a road that travels along to top of the dam. It used to be the only route through but they built this awesome bridge recently, so through traffic can circumvent the dam completely. It certainly speeds things up for people driving to Phoenix and makes it easier for the tourists to walk around the dam safely. Check out this bridge:

The RGH and I saw this when it was being constructed and it totally freaked me out. At the time it didn't meet in the middle yet. YIKES! Now it looks less creepy.

I would like to show you what happens when you hand a real camera to a point and shoot person:

And then he redeemed himself:

And now it's my turn:

Big J is split between Nevada and Arizona and just so you know, this is his I am super excited face:

They built a monument for the men who worked building the dam and the men who lost their lives working on it. I thought it was beautiful.

We had a great time on our visit in spite of the temperatures being in the 100's. After the visit we hit a Restaurant in Boulder City but that will be my next post.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Okay, I really need to get in shape...

As I am typing this, the Toby Keith song As Good As I Once Was is playing:

I gotta tell you, that is a perfect song when you are in your fifties and just spent two weeks entertaining three grandsons and their parents. I was whipped but a I still had to drive J, the 12 year old home and come back the next day. That would be about 600 miles in two days. I squeezed in a visit with my friend Chantel, friends Debbie and Andreas and had breakfast with the RGH's mom before I drove home.

Since then, I have been trying to put my house back together, do laundry, organize the linen closets and I canned pickled okra and grape jam.

Yeah, I am ready for a vacation consisting of sitting around and doing nothing but watching Netflix.

I was supposed to be doing Weight Watchers but I was cooking comfort food and baking cakes and eating at buffets. Lets just say, I haven't logged onto Weight Watchers in so long I had to have them send me my password. I am afraid to get on the scale because my clothes are telling me I am worse off than when I signed up for WW.

I guess it's time to get back on the treadmill and writing down what I eat. A trip to the Fresh and Easy to get some fruits and veggies and I'll start over. 

Frankly, I am getting to the point that I don't really give a rat's @$$ how much I weigh but I really can't justify a whole new wardrobe just because I want to eat pie and Alfredo sauce. Not necessarily at the same time, but you get what I am saying. 

Fortunately, the RGH doesn't love me solely for my knock out figure and hopefully not just for my mind either, since it's pretty far gone these days too.

So I am playing catch up and I haven't forgotten that I promised to give you the scoop on our week with the big J. I just haven't transferred the photos to my computer yet. I'll add that to my list.

And if you find my mind, send it back to me, will ya'?

Till next time,

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Where Have You Been?

You probably have been asking yourself, where is Mary? She said she was going to blog regularly. What does regularly mean anyway? Once a year?

I crack me up.

Actually, I have had a house full of company. The day after the RGH came home from work, my daughter and her family showed up. (We were expecting them) It's their annual summer visit. I had three grandchildren to spoil. Which means I cooked a lot.

I made two of my friend Nicole's 52 cakes. This one, which I changed into a bundt cake and left off the chocolate topping and this one that I also made bundt cake style. I am a lover of all things bundt. Only dirties up one pan and there is less to frost. I am not lazy, just efficient. Okay, maybe I am a little lazy.

I should have taken photos of my cakes but they didn't last long enough. 

I cooked most of the favorites, including fried chicken. My poor daughter was trying to do Weight Watchers and she finally gave up. It is very hard to diet when you are presented with every childhood comfort food.

We went to the Shark Exhibit at the Mandalay Bay. Here are a couple of photos from the trip.

We also spent a lot of time in the pool. Well, the boys did. Gramma was busy cooking. The guys went to see Transformers while Amanda, Logan and I went to the outlet mall. We had an ant invasion while they were here. That was fun. They had a little car trouble so there was some back and forth with car repairs. Luckily, it wasn't anything serious. We took everyone to Bambini's and J & T made their own pizza. That was a hit.

The gang left on Tuesday, save Jacob. He has been hanging here with the old folks. I'll have the scoop on that in the next post.

Sorry I have been AWOL. Hope your day is blessed. I am off to bake another cake.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Family Wall of Fame Project

We have a loooong hallway in our home. The house is set up in a big U shape with a small courtyard in the middle. The long hall separates the extra bedrooms from the main part of the house. Remember, we have an empty nest, so all but the master bedroom is unoccupied by children.

I have been promising the RGH, I would make a Family Wall of Fame in that hallway since we moved here. I finally got my rear in gear and got it started. So I am sharing my process with you today.

First, note the long, empty wall:

I told you it was a long, empty wall. See how boring it is. I had to put a picture hanger on the wall just to get the camera to focus.

It is over 12 feet long in this section alone. Room for lots of frames. The problem here is there is not enough room to lay out a bunch of frames to make my plan. So I did the layout on the floor between my dining area and the family room.

I changed a couple of things once I laid it out. First, that frame in the bottom center is unlike the others. It has a wide, flat frame and the rest have a thinner, more decorative frame. So I had to run to Michael's to get one more frame. Darn! But my scratch off coupon was 30% off. SCORE!

I also ended up leaving off the two square frames on each end. I  have another, smaller section of hallway that I am planning a mini wall of fame for. I want to use those there. 

It took a little bit of time to get all these frames on the wall and straight. If you have ever done this,  you know that even exactly alike frames don't always hang exactly alike. But I had a gadget that helps with that. So here is the end result:

See my little ladder with my tools on the step? I guess I should have put it away so it wouldn't wreck the photo. My bad.

All the pictures in these frames are the pictures that were in them at the store. I promised the grandsons that will be here on Thursday that they could help me pick the photos. That is going to be fun. And it will also make the RGH happy to see his Family Wall of Fame finally finished.

Check off one more thing on my goals for the year list.

What project have you been putting off? Would it make you happy to get it done?

Just Do It.