Thursday, December 01, 2011

Sometimes it's good to be clueless!

Tuesday morning I did an early morning seminary pick up for two of our young men. Normally my husband would do this, but he was going on an early flight to San Antonio. They live near Fair Park, about half a block from the DART station where a young man was killed by a pack of aggressive 12-14 year-olds just last week. So not the best of neighborhoods. They live on a quiet side street. I stopped in the middle of the street and one boy got into the car. As we were chatting, waiting for his brother, 2 black men came up to the car and asked me to move over to the curb. I did, thinking I was blocking something and continued chatting. They hung around and said something about "your lights out." I thought they were telling me one of my lights was out so I just looked up and said "OK, thanks", and continued chatting. They said something about the lights again and the boy said, "I think they want you to turn your lights out." So I cracked the window and said to the closest guy, "I'm not going to turn the lights out because I'm about to leave." ...and continued chatting! By then the other brother came out, got into the car and we left. It was only later, when I thought about it that I realized I should have been scared. My car was not blocking anything and why would they want my lights off? It kind of freaked me out in retrospect!


Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo - I had this condition about 5 years ago. Simply put, there are tiny crystals in the inner ear that affect your balance. When they migrate to the wrong part of the ear, the brain gets confused and you experience vertigo. When I researched this 5 years ago, I found a simple treatment, The Epley Maneuver, which Sarah helped me with and it worked. For the past 3 weeks or so I have been feeling dizzy again and the symptoms are consistent with BPPV. I realized I could do the maneuver on my own and tried it a week ago. It helped; The vertigo went from major to minor. Then this morning, I was sitting at the table reading and started feeling dizzy just sitting there. Weird sensation. And my first reaction was to get up and start doing things that I might not be able to do if it gets worse. Kind of counter intuitive to go lurching about the house just to wash dishes, do laundry and make the bed. But I had to make the bed so that I could lie down on it and do the maneuver. Anyhow, here's hoping the Epley works. It's no fun to bump into walls and risk being mistaken for a drunk!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Genealogy Stuff

3/16/11 - The genealogical information that can be gleaned from some of these 19th Century or early 20th Century local histories is wonderful. Here are two articles I found from the "Commemorative Biographical Record of Prominent and Representative Men of Kenosha and Racine Counties" by J.H. Beers and Co. Clarence Snyder was the second husband of my 2nd G Grandmother, Isabel Scribner Elkins. Hiram Joseph Smith is not a direct ancestor either, but what a great name! He married Nancy Elkins, who was sister to Isabel Scribner's 1st husband, Edmond Elkins, my 2nd G Grandfather.

And this:

Monday, November 16, 2009

No Animals Were Killed to Make This Chili

11/16/09 - Kind of in your face, but that's what I named my chili for the Lakewood Ward Chili cook-off. Here's what the label looked like:

No Animals Were Killed to Make This Chili
No Cholesterol
No Added Fat
Contains Wheat
Contains Jalapenos

There were 2 other vegetarian chilis; one was really good and the other was not really a chili. It was more of a vegetable medley with kidney beans.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Time to Start..... again

I got the book, The Engine 2 Diet , from the library yesterday and am reading it. It promotes a vegan diet and lifestlye and has some great sounding recipes. Today I bought the ingredients for "Raise-the-Roof Sweet Potato-Vegetable Lasagna". It sounds really good and I will make it for dinner tomorrow. I've been slipping. I've been eating too many fatty foods and dairy. Maybe that's why I'm stuck at 152 lbs, even when I exercise. I want to see the 130's again. I'll try some of the other recipes from this book over the next week.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Flu and Black Elderberry Extract

So 3 out of the 4 members of my household have had flu. Melissa is the only one who went to the doctor and she was told it is probably H1N1 since that is what is going around. They are not testing every case. This has been going on for 2 weeks or more and I am still healthy.

Back in June when I was in severe pain, my doctor could not come up with a firm diagnosis. It seemed it might be nerve pain. It followed the nerve line across the back of my left shoulder and down my left arm. It was unaffected by OTC pain meds and I was pretty miserable. I did some online research and self-diagnosed zoster sine herpete, or shingles without the rash. I investigated further and found that black elderberry extract is supposed to have anti-viral properties. I started taking it in June. The pain went away finally at the end of June. I'm not sure if the elderberry had anything to do with it, but I stopped taking it. After a pain-free July, the same kind of pain in the same place came back in August. So I started taking the elderberry extract again. The Pain lasted the whole month, but this time, when it finally went away, I kept taking the elderberry. I still take it once or twice a day. I am wondering whether the anti-viral properties have kept me from getting the flu.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Julie & Julia / Mary & Mary

I just finished reading Julie & Julia - you know, the book about the woman who cooked all 524 of Julia Child's recipes in a year. I am not much of a cook, but I need to expand my repetoire. The problem with Julia Child, aside from the fact that I do not own any of her cookbooks, is that I do not eat meat and try to stay away from dairy. After reading that book, I would guess that the vast majority of her recipes are either for meat or contain large quantities of butter. So I thought about cooking my way through some vegan cookbook, but I really don't think I have the motivation. What I might do is set a goal to try 30 new vegan recipes in 30 days... how about that? And since the vegan cookbooks I do own are by Mary McDougall, I can call it the Mary & Mary Project. Catchy, huh? I'll let you know if I decide to do it!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

On being single in a family oriented church

I came across a dialogue on the somewhat skewed mission statement of a singles ward somewhere in the church. Check it out here . It inspired me to share the following story:

Thirty-some years ago my friend and I were “kicked out” of the singles ward in Cambridge because we lived outside of the Stake boundaries. Our Stake had no singles ward. The first Sunday we attended our family ward we were just a little bit late and I’m sure everyone noticed us - two obviously single young women. It happened to be the Sunday that the RS was speaking and they had chosen a young mother, a middle aged mom and an older woman to speak. When they saw us, they realized that they hadn’t covered all the bases and all three of them awkwardly inserted into their talks that RS has a place for the young SINGLE woman who ISN’T MARRIED YET. I’m glad I had a friend to laugh about it with. And bless them for wanting to include us!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Steve's Blog and Vlog

Stephen is preparing for a Japanese proficiency test and has both a Blog and a Vlog of new words he is learning there in Okinawa. Check them out:

Steve's Japanese Blog

Monday, March 02, 2009


My friend sent me one of those positive, uplifting, reinforcing, cute, sappy forwards about how wonderful it is to grow old. I would usually just read, smile and delete. BUT today I am still recuperating from Saturday. Saturday I found myself at a nursing career fair competing with people much young than I. I would go as far as to say I was the oldest person in the room. I was waiting in a long line, watching other people as they interviewed. It was open; I could see what was happening. There were a lot of these open interviews going on in a very crowded conference room. So I watched and saw the interviewers laughing and chatting with the candidates, taking their time. The interviewers were doing most of the talking. I couldn't hear much, but it looked like they were recruiting, trying to sell their hospital, their department. When my turn finally came, I got the cold treatment. No positive chatter, no encouragement. I did not match the profile they were looking for and it was ever so obvious. It probably would have been a good idea to do more than one interview - there were 13 or 14 possibilities - but I was out of time as well as extremely discouraged. So no, I did not find the forward amusing and I will not send it on to seven friends. Today I don't feel so great about growing old.

They Froze to Death

My 5th great grandparents died on March 5, 1813 in Trenton, Maine. Back in the summer of 1969, I discovered their common tombstone in an overgrown cemetery. On it was engraved, “They froze to death returning from a visit”. He was 69; she was 72. I had a great time that summer doing research on my family, tracking tidbits of information and discovering forgotten graveyards. They can be a great source of information.

I love cemeteries. I visit my son’s grave here in Dallas and find it peaceful just to be there. When he died, my mom planted a rhododendron at our camp in NH in his memory. That was over 17 years ago. It is still there and very beautiful.

My dad was cremated, and his ashes were buried in the family plot in Carlisle, Massachusetts. I have ancestors in that cemetery going back to the 1700’s and I love to visit when I am in the area. I think there are 5 or 6 sets of grandparents of various degrees of greatness there as well as numerous uncles, aunts and cousins. Bill’s parents were cremated and are interred in the wall of a chapel in an Episcopal church. I would rather visit a graveyard.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Processed People

I have the DVD "Processed People". I had the trailer posted here but it took too long to load so the link is below. It is worth watching! If you are in the Dallas area and would like to borrow it, let me know.

Processed People

Monday, November 17, 2008

Off to SLC!

Tomorrow morning, Bill, Emma and I will fly to Salt Lake City. We will rent a car and drive down to Provo and stay with our good friends, the Harlows. Then on Wednesday, Emma will enter the MTC. So our time with her grows shoreter and shorter. Today Sarah and Loren drove over from Ft Worth to spend the day with us. James and Melissa are here as well. On Sunday Emma got to talk with Stephen in Japan for 30-40 minutes, before getting set apart Sunday night. She has had a good dose of family. As a missionary she will serve for 18 months with no vacations or trips home. We will get 4 phone calls - 2 Christmas calls and 2 Mother's Day calls. We will miss her, but we are very excited for her too, as she begins this new phase in her life!

Flu Shots

So, I have made a brief foray back into the world of working people. I have worked a few flu shot clinics. Last Thursday I gave a little over 100 flu shots at a clinic for Citigroup in Irving. It has been fun to get out and meet new people and make a little money, but I suppose I need to get a real job. At a hospital. I thought the nursing degree (BSN) and the RN would open many doors, but I was mistaken. Without that hospital experience, no one wants me. I am afraid of 12-hour shifts that stretch into 14 or 15 hour shifts. I am in good health, but I am not young.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Population Fluctuation on Sycamore Street

The population of young people in our household has been in a state of flux. In June, Stephen left for Japan and Emma for Minnesota. From no kids at home in July we got Emma back in the middle of August at almost the same time that Joakim arrived. Then a week later we got Annebeth. We were stable at 3 during September. Then Rene came to visit for two weeks in October and we were up to 4. Last Saturday we went down to two when Rene went back to Germany and Annebeth finally got permission to move in with her new host family. Just in time for James and Melissa who will be driving from Idaho Falls to Dallas this weekend and staying with us for... as long as they want to! So we will be back to 4. But then Emma will be leaving for her mission three weeks from today, bringing us down to 3 again. And then when Sarah starts her rotation at Childrens Medical Center at the end of December, we will have her for a few days. It keeps life interesting!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Emma's Going On A Mission!!!

Can you guess where? Here's a hint:

She reports to the MTC in Provo on November 19th. Exciting times!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

It was the best of jobs, it was the worst of jobs.

"It was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair." I sacrificed the best of jobs because I could not bear to go back to the worst of jobs.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Habits and Shoes

I have heard that it takes 30 days to establish a new habit. While I was living out of a suitcase for 30 days, I had only 3 pairs of shoes to wear. I've been home for a week now and just realized that I've been wearing the same 3 pairs of shoes since I got back, even though there are plenty more in my closet!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Here We Go Again

Today I got approval for two exchange students to attend the Arts Magnet for this coming school year. One is a dancer; the other is a violinist. They both are excellent candidates for Arts. I'm sure they will enjoy their year. I had been trying to find another family to host one of them, but more and more I am growing attached to both of them, even though we have not yet met. I'm not sure which I would want to give up. I had thought we would keep Joakim, the Swedish boy, and find another home for Annebeth, the Danish girl, but I find myself feeling excessively picky about who would be acceptable. And as I discovered with Rene and SeWon, it is often easier to have two than just one, especially when I have no kids of my own at home. We have Emma now, but she will probably leave in another 2 or 3 months for her mission.

UPDATE: Joakim arrived on August 15th and Annebeth arrived on August 22nd. Here is a picture taken at DFW on the 22nd:

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Better Than Chocolate

Blasphemy to some, maybe, but there are a few edible treats that I find better than chocolate. Mighty Mango fruit juice smoothie by Naked is one. Expensive, but worth it! Panda brand licorice with herbs is another. As with anything so delicious and tempting, a little goes a long way... or should. I've found that overindulgance can spoil even the most delectable of treats. I may come back and add to this list. I recall using the phrase "better than chocolate" in reference to other favorites that slip my mind just now. I've eliminated anything with butter - like artichokes or lobster, since I'm trying to eat vegan. Do you have a favorite treat that's better than chocolate??

OK, I just thought of another. Fresh raspberries, right off the bush. Last week, when we were in New Hampshire, Sarah, Loren and I drove to a farm at the end of Tuftonboro neck and picked raspberries and blueberries. I probably ate nearly as many as I saved! And I recall thinking 'better than chocolate'.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Time to Make a List

One of my goals for the next few days, besides staying out of the heat, is to get my house in order. We hope to host another exchange student this year, and YFU will want to make a home visit. I'm not sure we would pass at this point. I've been up since 7:30 or so and have accomplished very little. SO it's time to make a to-do list.

I've been trying to get my 2 students approved since mid-June, but people have been on vacation, Arts has no principal and the people who are there don't want to take responsibility. In the meantine, these kids cannot get a visa because they do not have a school placement confirmed.

HOT HOT HOT ... Hazardous Weather Outlook

Heat Advisory!! I left beautiful, cool New Hampshire to come home to this. It was rainy and cooler than usual in NH, but a bad day at the lake in NH is better than almost any day in Dallas in the summer. I do not handle Texas heat very well. The above images are from the NOAA website. I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot of orange suns on NOAA for the next month or so.


While I was in PA, Bill was awakened one night at about 3 AM by the sound of gunshots. He got up to investigate, but it wasn't until morning that he found a bullet hole in the dining room window and a bullet lodged in the wall. That hole is at about the level of my heart had I been standing near the window, or my head had I been sitting at the table. Later he found a second bullet hole that went through the outside wall into the pantry, through the pantry wall into the laundry room and through the wall over the laundry room door. That's right - three entry holes and three exit holes from the same bullet. He found the actual bullet on the family room floor. It's amazing that nothing in the pantry was damaged or broken... and lucky no one was hurt. People are so thoughtless and stupid. Random bullets can and have killed.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

What a slouch I am!

I am being a Camp Nurse in Pennsylvania!. So much to write about and yet I don't. I finally have a day off today, so maybe after breakfast. Ill catch up.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

It's Over!!!

Yesterday was my last day of school. I had volunteered to go to Anne Frank on Monday and Tuesday but the Powers That Be dictated that I stay at TJ. Because the HS students were having finals, they were only at school for 2-4 hours each day. So I read books and gave out a few bandaids and did some research on the computer. Meanwhile at AF the clinic was crazy and I could have been of real help. At least I got to be at AF for my last day. I have 3 days of staff development during June that count towards next year. Other than that, I am free until August 18th! - Yes, I signed a contract for next year, but I have not yet been assigned to a school. So things are up in the air and I shall be, at least casually, looking at other possibilities.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Shakespeare and Company, Paris

Emma the bohemian is staying at this icon:
In exchange for about 4 hours of work per day, she has a bed in the bookstore and uses the public showers. Soon she will be going to the south of France to stay at her second organic farm. Ahhh, to be twenty and unafraid!! I did a Google entry for Shakespeare + bookstore + Paris and got a lot of hits. Like this and this and this.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Things have been happening in my life... but I have been in such a funk [1 a: a state of paralyzing fear b: a depressed state of mind] that I have not been able to persuade myself to write. I have wanted to, but I have let the negative overshadow the positive. For five out of seven days each week things are fine, but I feel like I am not handling the other two days very well. Bill told me today that it's easy to tell which school I have been to by the kind of mood I'm in in the evening. I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. TEN more days and maybe, hopefully, I'll get a reprieve.

My dear, lovely Emma is in France now - WWOOFing! She begins her adventure at Chateau de Sacy (pictured above), a little north of Paris. The AA flight from DFW to Paris had plenty of space and by one of those strange flukes, her high school French teacher was on the same plane and they sat together! I was not worried about her getting across the ocean. I was more worried about her making her way on her own by bus, train and wit from the airport to this small village 40km to the north. But she managed it. And she has been using a prepaid calling card to call home. That seems to be working well. She will be in France for about 7 weeks, staying and working on 2 different farms. My sister has also been studying French and liked the idea so much that she is going to go WWOOFing too! She is interested in cheesmaking and found a farm in the Pyranees that makes cheese. So since I have been studying Spanish, maybe I should go to a farm in Spain???

Friday, April 04, 2008

Message from the Elders

About two weeks ago, I signed up to feed our missionaries on April 3rd. In honor of the upcoming occasion, I had Bill pack up the rest of the Corelle that we brought to Dallas from my mom's place in Florida. She had about 16 place settings, so I took half of it up to New England to my brother Steve and the other half has been sitting on our dining room table for 3 or 4 weeks. We will get it to James and Melissa one of these days. And it's more likely to happen now that it is packed. And thanks to the Elders, I have reclaimed the back half of my dining room table!

They did not call to confirm and we were uncertain about the appointment. I got home at about 4:20 yesterday and the light on our answering machine was flashing - a message from the Elders. I called back and they said they could only come at 5PM and if that would not work we could reschedule. I said come on over - I am turning on the oven and pulling food from the freezer as I speak. So I managed to pull together a meal and have it ready at 5 o'clock. We had a good meal and a nice visit.

One of the things I look forward to is their spiritual message. Last night they shared this scripture:

D&C 6:36 Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.

It was what I needed to hear. I have had so many doubts and fears about this and that lately. I need to exercise more faith. That scripture brought to mind another that is a favorite of mine:

Psalms 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

As a teenager I went to MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship) every Sunday evening. This scripture was the motto that we recited aloud every week. It's amazing how some things stick with you for a long, long time. Again, this scripture reminds me that my negative thoughts are unworthy, and I need to concentrate on putting my trust in the Lord.

Friday, March 28, 2008


more Mondays and Tuesdays. I revised my count. I forgot about the Memorial Day holiday and I'm not counting the day I will be going on a field trip with the pregnant and parenting girls. They needed a second nurse for the trip, and I was happy to accept the invitation. It should be a fun day as long as no one goes into labor. They are taking the juniors and seniors to Brookhaven College to try to encourage them to stay in school and set their sights on college. I cannot imagine trying to pursue a degree with a small child, but it can be done. I really admire the PEP (that's Pregnancy, Education and Parenting, I think) nurse at TJ. She really works hard for those kids.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

When I started my job last August I had a photo ID made which I wear anytime I am at the school. This was before I decided to "go natural" or to let my grey hair grow out. So today I was taking care of a small boy who looked at my ID and looked at me and asked "Is this a picture of you when you were YOUNG???"

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Max's Wedding

It was the first wedding I have attended at the Arboretum. It was lovely and the weather and the flowers were beautiful! Max and Brooke wrote their own vows and he got all choked up when he was saying them. I was tearing up too. So nice to see them both so happy. So wonderful to see all the support from family and friends. So sad that James was not able to be there. Here is a picture of the happy couple. Don't they look great! Bill and I had fun rediscovering some old friends and connecting with some people with whom we had just one or 2 degrees of separation - not six!

Max's dad did the catering and I decided not to be a vegetarian for the night. I have not had steak for at least 2 or 3 years, but this was a steak worth waiting for! It was delicious as was the rest of the meal. Maybe I'll have Max's dad cater for Stephen or Emma... but that is a way down the road. Then again, maybe I will have a buffet catered by the Spiral Diner people. They serve an excellent vegan BBQ sandwich! And they now have a location in Oak Cliff - just across the river!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

There was once an old sailor my grandfather knew

Who had so many things which he wanted to do
That, whenever he thought it was time to begin,
He couldn't because of the state he was in.

And the rest of the poem is Here .

My dad used to read me the poems of A.A. Milne when I was a small child. This has been one of my favorites for years. I identify with the old sailor. Some people call it the "But First Syndrome"; I call it the "Old Sailor Syndrome." It's why I never get anything done. There is always so much to do that I don't know where to begin and of course I can't do A until I've done B which is dependant on my finishing C etc. So like the old sailor, I end up doing nothing at all... Shameful!! Who will save me??!

Then there is the more productive "One More Thing" syndrome that kicks in now and then. Usually it happens as I am getting ready to go somewhere that I don't really want to go to. I decide to finish the laundry before I leave and while it is drying I surely have time to make the bed and wash the dishes and make myself a spectacular lunch to take to work. And before I know it I am late... but look what I've accomplished by trying to fit in one more thing! What I need to do is figure out how to trigger the "One More Thing" state when I have a few hours of time, not a few minutes.

I'm Back

Call it shell shock or PTSD. It took me a while to recover from my terrible, horrible etc. day, but things are pretty much back to normal now. I am enjoying my job from Wednesday - Friday and am counting Mondays and Tuesdays - 22 to go!

Carrie O referred me to mamasource which is an interesting resource. It's mainly for mothers of young children and mine are grown, but I have enjoyed browsing the site. I chimed in on two recent discussions there, if you want to read my responses.

Max is getting married today at the Arboretum. James wanted to come to Dallas from Idaho for the occasion, but was unable to get on a plane out of SLC. D3 standby can be frustrating and James had a very frustrating and disappointing day yesterday. He ended up giving up and going home and will miss his best friend's wedding. I hate it when that happens to my kids. I feel for him... but we will be there to represent the family.

Look for a post soon about the Old Sailor Syndrome. I've been meaning to write about that for some time, but I have so many things to do that I just haven't gotten around to it! HA!

Monday, February 25, 2008

What can I say???

I've really been at a loss. I am wondering if I made the right choice going into nursing. I enjoyed working in Tariff (for AA) and I loved being a programmer. In those jobs, I worked with prople who were logical thinkers. I keep telling myself that I just have to work until I get my student loans paid off and my kids through college. But it would be nice to have a job I really enjoyed again... and so far, this isn't it. I am counting the days until June 5th.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Yep... that pretty much describes my day at work today. And that is a header that cries out for a rant... which I will resist.

On the other hand, my Spanish class is going well. I like Richland. And now that I am taking college classes again, I find myself wanting to take a math class. Isn't that strange???

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The biggest heap -

Bill has received official notice at his office that he is no longer in the running for driver of the "Biggest Heap". So sad. He drives my mom's Florida car these days. We are the third owners, but the first two were Florida retirees who never drove it far or fast. It's a 2001 Buick Century and had just over 26,000 miles when we bought it. It is nice looking - white with leather seats - and in perfect condition! I think we will let Steve drive the heap (1988 Honda) now. We just have to teach him to use a clutch!