Monday, March 31, 2008

Spring???

The windows are open, and the furnace is shut off. At least for today. And only 2 windows out of many. But it is a start and will get the old stale air out and the new fresh air in. Even with the furnace off last night it was too hot to go to sleep right away. It was chilly inside this morning...only a whole 53 degrees outside when I got up today. So much better than the old 20's and 30's. It was 61 out the last time I checked about half an hour ago. It is cloudy, windy, and supposed to have rain today, but so far no rain. Tonight is supposed to be thunderstorms and windy. Just what I hate. Leave the wind out and I am usually okay. Make it mild regular thunderstorms I am okay. But anything severe and I get scared. One of these days, hopefully sooner than later, I can get out of this mobile home and into something a bit more sturdy and fastened to the ground. Not that that is any guarantee against tornados, but it is better than a home that can become truly mobile with the right kind of wind gusts. Anyway, I just wanted to say how nice it is to finally have at least these 2 windows opened today and see the curtains blowing in the breeze.

I am having my living room cleaned and rearranged today. That is one of the household chores I always enjoyed doing. At this time in my life I need help. I am excited to have it done. It will help bring another bit of spring into my home. One of the things that will get done is the removal of a norwegian pine (I think that is what it is) that I bought for Daughter for Grandson's first Christmas. Turns out it cannot survive outside in temperatures below 30 degrees. Our winters get much colder than that. So I kept it. Apparently I didn't water it often enough and it looks either dead or close to it. I am not sure how to tell when a pine tree is unrevivable. But I am going to have my friend who is cleaning for me take it outside and put it under the awning where the rain runs off in full streams so it can get plenty of water. Maybe, if there is still any life left in it, it can be revived and glow it's pretty bright green again. I hope so.

Restoration and revival of life is something not unfamiliar to me and my own life. But those stories I am saving for my other blog. But for right here, just knowing it is spring is reviving my spirits some. Another thing is that after a week of feeling kind of lousy, I am feeling a whole lot better. Better than I have in a long time actually. I don't know what the change is, but I think maybe those few days I got off the water pills must have shocked my system because now the water pills seem to be working much better than they have in a long, long time. I don't have that old feeling of being bloated in my chest or of having breathing issues. And I feel like maybe some extra pounds are starting to come off. Well, that will be known come next Monday when I go back to the doctor. I know it isn't from my diet. The changes in my diet have been too slow for that to have done this. All I know is that walking is much easier than it was even two days ago.
Wow...maybe I am going to have to open a few more windows. It is still hot in here!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Newest Blog

I just want to let anyone who might be interested know that I have started a personal blog...no advertising....just me, letting it all hang out so to speak, about my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and where we have been together for the past 15 years plus. If you would like to get to know my Jesus the way I do, please check it out. I am not guaranteeing anything about how you can get to know Him from reading what I write, but if you want to find Him, leave a comment and I will get back with you. Once you have Him in your life, NOTHING will be the same again. You will really be amazed at what He can do in you and through you. Believe me, if He can do it for me, He can do it for anyone.


My Faith Journey With Jesus

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Salad

As promised, here are pictures of the wonderful salad I made today. Actually, since I really love salads but hate making them, I usually just do all the making ahead of time and store in the fridge so all I have to do is just get some out and go. This was lunch. I also had salad again for supper. I got a lot of salad fixin's so I have a lot of salad to eat in the next few days. I supposed I will get tired of it by then. But I am already planning on what to do when the salad runs out.





Ingredients of this salad are: the bagged salad mix, broco-slaw, baby carrots, red radishes, mushrooms, onion, green bell pepper, cucumber, the pink grapefruit with it's juice and grape tomatoes. Dressing is honey mustard. The bell pepper was a last minute addition. I don't really like those either, but decided to add it anyway. It didn't do a lot to change the flavor. The grapefruit juice was really good with the other flavors. I think I should have used regular tomatoes and cut them up because then the tomato juice would have blended more with the grapefruit juice and cucumber. Anyway, it was still good. I intend to continue enjoying it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Just Rambling

Son came over last night and used my computer for internet access. He is looking into the details of starting a small business here in town and needed my internet to do that. He chose to come over just prior to my bedtime and ask if he could use the computer while I was sleeping. A little leary of agreeing to it, I let him. Got up this morning and everything looked fine. He turned off the lights and locked the door when he left as I had asked him to do. He left the computer on, but I remembered that I never told him to turn it off. No problem there. I worked this morning in the call center so didn't get to use the computer for my own personal use until afternoon. That's when I found it!! He deleted the history and cookies...I don't know what else, but maybe all the passwords too. LOL Not that I am not wondering what he looked at that he might think he needed to hide from me...I think I already can figure that one out. I just hope I can remember all my login information for all the sites I am signed up to just remember me. I know. I delete these things myself occassionally, so I do really know what most of the passwords are...at least I know what they are, just not necessarily which site they go to.

I took a short weekend break over the holiday from blogging and squidoo. I had to work at the call center both Saturday and Sunday, but since I was just going to be sitting here at home anyway, why not? Now I am back at it and my mind seems to have gotten stuck somewhere back before the weekend and I can't think of much to blog about. So what do I do when that happens? I go back to the www.wahm.com website and check out the new blog listings I find there as well as the new squidoo lenses. Then I go check out those blogs and see what they might be all about. It helps me think of things to write here. To tell you the truth, though, my mind is still pretty focused on the disappointment I am feeling over the video file conversion problem from my new camera. If my computer should crash before I get those videos adequately saved to CD or DVD, they will be lost except for picture only. What a shame that would be. Believe me I am praying for a soon solution as well as that my computer will not have any major issues before then. I am not expecting anything to go wrong, but you know how it is sometime when you can't back up your files the way you want or need to.

After the outing yesterday with Daughter and Grandson, today was another a-fib episode. This is getting more than a little annoying. Catch 22 is what it is called, isn't it? The more active I am, the more threat of the a-fib episodes which end up wiping me out for the next day...but at the same time, I need to increase my activity level, which I am doing gradually since I surely don't want to end up in a full permanent a-fib episode like last year. In just under 2 weeks Daughter and I will be heading back over to the doctor to find out his decision after getting the results of the monitor. (And we will hopefully be making our side trip to Taj Mahal this time.) Maybe the doctor will have a solution that will help. In the meantime, the fridge is filled with good healthy, lower calorie meal fixin's for me to work on that part of the health plan.

Have you ever had a good chef or tossed salad with grapefruit pieces in it? How about crushed strawberries? One of my cousins likes to bring the food whenever she comes to work on genealogy with me. She brought all the salad fixin's one day complete with grapefruit one time and strawberries the next. I am not a great experimenter with new tastes for the most part, but was feeling a bit brave both of those days. I now can't buy salad stuff without buying a grapefruit to add to it. I love it! Maybe if I remember when I make my salad tomorrow, I will take a picture of it to add here before I eat it all up. I am not a fan of grapefruit, but it is good for me, and since I like it on salad, it is a great way to get it into my diet.

Final topic of the evening: The Nintendo Wii and how it is now being used in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Fascinating! But from what I know of the Wii, it makes a lot of sense that it would be useful as both physical therapy/rehabilitation, and as a social activity. I am going to have to explore this topic further and blog about it on my Activity Director blog soon. Myself, I am still very partial to the old Atari games. My kids and I wore two consoles out during their youth. The first Nintendo's and Play Stations, I have not enjoyed that much during the few times I have had the chance to play them. I am not fond of having to use arrow keys rather than the old traditional joy sticks. I am not that coordinated I guess. So, I am not sure how I would like the Wii system. But as I research this further, who knows? I may have to invest in one down the road just to add some more physical activity to my lifestyle that might not be so overwhelming to my system as to cause more a-fib episodes. Any thoughts?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Frustrated and Confused

Some people who know me might say I am always confused...

Okay, if you check into my photography blog you will see what is upsetting me so much right now. As much as I love my new camera, especially taking home videos of my grandkids, I am now having problems with the fact that those same videos come out in .mov format. They work great on my computer. But the sound does not burn to CD's along with the video, and without the sound, the videos don't mean a lot. The kids are doing a lot of talking to me, to the camera, to each other. Unless you can read lips, without the sound, the videos are pretty ineffective.

Am I to give up? No. I am looking into ways to convert the .mov format to .avi without losing anything in the process. Any ideas? All I am reading is just frustrating and confusing me more.
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I am changing topics now because I am tired of dealing with that issue.
Daughter and I went shopping and out to lunch today. I got that monitor off this morning finally. Two weeks of that was long enough. Grandson was cute as usual. He is a little flirt like most babies his age are.
Easter was quiet--very quiet since Daughter and Son do their Easter with their other sides of the family, as they do all the main holidays. I had a relaxing day that ended with my favorite movie, The Sound of Music. I wanted to watch The Passion of the Christ again but since I don't have that video, I settled for checking out the website and then looking online to maybe buy the video. Instead I decided to check at WalMart today when we were shopping to see if I could get it there. They were out. So I will have to wait until next paycheck and see if they have it by then...unless I decide to go ahead and order it online.
In the meantime, sit back and enjoy these clips from The Sound of Music that I found on YouTube.


































Now seriously...what would these videos mean without sound if these were taken of your family? I know these are movies and the sound works. Just imagine though that your children or grandchildren were singing a good night song at a big party at your house and you took really nice video of it...and oh no...no sound!!!

Someone out there must know how to fix my problem! Come on, speak up.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Grandkids, A-Fib, Spring, and Easter

The Grandkids stayed until around noon when their Daddy came and got them. They were a bit more into not listening, whining, and arguing with each other until they got the message from Grandma that I wasn't going to put up with that. After breakfast and a little playtime, out came their left over sweet n sour chicken which the girls heated up after a quick lesson in which buttons to push on the microwave. Then it was time to learn how to play the Cootie Bug game. That required knowing how to read the dots on dice so Grandson had to have a quick lesson. He can count fingers, but didn't quite understand how to count the dots. He played until he got a few of his bug pieces put together, but he soon became bored with it all. By the time the girls got to where all they had left were the six legs to put on and that was taking forever, they quit too. How easy it is to roll a six when you don't need it. It wasn't long again before all three of them were up in my chair with me watching the movie MOUSE HUNT on tv, and eating more carrots. You can't say they didn't get healthy snacks with Grandma. No cookies, or ice cream or any of that junk stuff. They are growing up so quickly. Next month starts a series of birthdays. Two of my grandkids have birthdays in April, one in May, one in June, and one in July. I bought the 4 older kids each a kite and told Son that he had to take the kids out so they could actually use them, and that I wanted to be there to videotape it all. It should be an interesting thing to see if and when it happens. He says he isn't very good with kites. I don't remember him ever flying a kite when he was a kid. His girlfriend says she isn't good with kites either. I wonder if they will ever get them off the ground.
I survived the overnight pretty well, but had to have a nap later in the afternoon. Unfortunately I woke up from an upsetting dream that made no sense at all, but realized that I was again in another a-fib episode. Will this ever change? At least I still have the monitor until Monday and then the doctor might be able to figure out what the best thing to do is. Between my entertaining dreams and/or my "extra" activities, these episodes continue to be annoying. But at least I am in normal sinus rhythm most of the time and the episodes don't last long anymore. It sure puts a damper on anything I might want to plan though.
First day of spring--finally. It has been raining off and on, and just the most recently has had a bit of lightening and thunder. At least we didn't get the snow others have been supposed to be getting. Well, it's back into the call center in the morning, although I get to start a bit later than usual so can sleep a bit later. I used to always unplug my computer during storms because of the possibilty of lightening blowing it out, but since I can't shut it off when I have to work, I have just let it stay plugged in and let God take care of it. Over the past years I have learned that no matter what happens, I can always trust God to take good care of me. Maybe I will talk about that another time in my blogging...maybe not. For now I am just glad that spring is officially here and we can start looking forward to grass getting green, leaves popping out on the trees, and birds singing.
If I don't get back on here the rest of the weekend, have a safe and happy Easter, and don't forget the real meaning of the season while you are having fun with your children and grandchildren. How about a couple more YouTube videos for Easter? These are favorites of mine...














Friday, March 21, 2008

Chinese, Cartoons, Carrots

Three of my grandchildren are spending the night with me tonight. Right now they are asleep, one on each end of my couch and another on the floor. They got here around 7:00 pm and the action began. It was supposed to be girl night but Grandson wanted to be part of the group, so he is here too. That's okay, he's happy, the girls are happy, and I am happy. We ordered Chinese food delivered. They shared a big order of sweet n sour chicken, tasted the egg rolls and teriyaki chicken and decided against it. They fought over the slice of carrots in each dish so I told them they could get some carrots out of the fridge to eat. So they ate a small part of their sweet n sour chicken and put it all away in the fridge for tomorrow, got out the bag of baby carrots and proceeded to eat probably half of that bag over the rest of the evening. At least they were eating healthy. After dinner they climbed up in my big chair with me and we got on the phone for them to call Grandpa. I videoed the whole conversation because oldest Granddaughter will not talk on the phone to Grandpa. She is bashful. On the other hand, youngest Granddaughter loves to just talk and talk and talk. Grandson talked for a little while, but youngest Granddaughter took over most of the conversation. After telephone time, we watched all the children's videos I have saved off of YouTube for when they all visit. Grandson has seen them so many times he knew what each one was and had to describe it for the girls. About 9:45 youngest Granddaughter asked what time it was and decided it was bedtime. So I took video of them getting their beds situated and them getting settled down, which meant many trips to the bathroom, putting the carrots back in the fridge, getting toys put away so there was room for beds and blankets and pillows. My couch is all pillows and cushions so they are now all over my living room floor and from what I saw of it, I may be barricaded in this chair for the night. Then there was a flurry of afghans and throws being spread about, folded, unfolded, shared or not shared until they finally decided it was all the way they wanted it. But then they had to go get special sleep toys from the toybox...another flurry of activity. All on video. Then the goodnight hugs and kisses, and finally they settled down to watch more cartoons until they fell asleep. We watched Bugs Bunny, Coyote and Roadrunner, The Chipmunks, and then some quiet down music videos with nice scenery. They turned over and now they are sleeping and quiet. I haven't decided where I am going to sleep tonight. They will be up with the light that comes in and makes my living room bright with all these big bay windows I have. I will feel better being in here when they wake up. And there is still that barricade of cushions and extra afghans I would have to cross. But either way I am going to have to be brave and try it. The ladies room is way down the hall from here. I am so glad I was prepared ahead of time with all these YouTube videos. Grandson always wants to sit up here with me and watch cartoons. We have the Muppets also and other old cartoons that aren't on television much anymore if at all. The neatest thing about it is that this workstation I have for working in my recliner also allows me to swing the monitor/keyboard arm out so people in the rest of the room can watch whatever is on the monitor. That is how I could let them watch cartoons to go to sleep with. Now I am relaxing here with sirius satellite radio on EZ listening while I catch up on the computer and get myself to the point where I can go to sleep. Tomorrow there may be no relaxing, at least not before noon.

For your viewing pleasure, here is Bugs Bunny in Hillbilly Hare, compliments of YouTube...one of the many videos Grandkids enjoyed tonight.


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Life In The Call Center--Some Basics

Today I want to post some tips for getting through by phone to the person or department you are trying to reach when you end up reaching a switchboard operator or call center customer service representative.
  • If you have the accurate extension number, please use it. Giving the name of the person may be helpful, but it also may not, depending on how large the organization is. The operator may not have a listing of the names of everyone in the business. I know I don't. The only names I know are those of the few people I deal with on a daily basis. Using the extension number is the quickest and easiest way to get through.

  • If you don't know the extension number, but you know the department, or job title, or area the person you are trying to reach works in, try giving that information to the operator. Again, this is going to get you through easier than the name might.

  • If you know the name but don't know anything else about the person's position in the company, repeating the name over and over, spelling the name over and over, and continuing to tell the operator that the person works there is not going to help if the operator has told you he/she needs an extension number. This kind of caller always amazes me. The more questions I ask to try to help figure out how to transfer this person to the person he/she wants to speak to, the more he/she repeats the name and even spells the name. If the name isn't getting you where you need to be, try giving more information, or listening to the questions you are being asked so maybe we can help you get through. If you have been told by the operator that you need to give more information for you to be transferred, repeating the same information over and over again is not going to help.

  • You may not know if you have reached a call center representative, but if the organization you are calling is large, you very possibly may be speaking to someone who is not located at the location you have called. If you have reached an operator or customer service rep, do not assume that this person knows everyone else in the business. If the business is large enough to be using this kind of service or has its own call center, the person you are speaking to is most likely not going to know each individual in each division of the company. It is especially important not to assume that the person in charge of the location you have called is the boss over the person you are speaking to on the phone. If you have reached a call center, you have reached an entirely different entity even though it is part of the same organization. Call centers generally have information about all the various business locations and departments, plus other information. Having knowledge of people's names, physical attributes such as "the lady with the long blonde hair and glasses" is not going to help you get to speak to that lady.

  • If you have reached a call center representative, he/she is not going to know where things are located at the location you are calling. For instance, specific offices, what businesses are located around this location unless they have been given this information specifically. I have direct addresses, one or two neighboring businesses, driving directions, and maybe a bit more to help people locate the business. I don't know the colors of the buildings, or what the buildings look like, etc. I am not there. I could be living clear across the country from the location you are calling. Other representatives of other businesses may have more information or less.

  • Some of these new automated systems can sound almost like you are talking to an actual person. The automated systems want very specific words used for them to work properly. If they do not "understand" what you are saying, you will most likely be transferred automatically to an operator. Once you are speaking with an operator, you can resume speaking normally instead of trying to use single, specific wording. You will be understood by the operator as long as the words you use are clear.

  • Hang-ups: As good as technology is today, telephone systems do disconnect ccassionally. If you are using a cell phone, calls get dropped. Please do not assume that someone you are speaking with has hung up on you out of rudeness. Most likely it is just a simple disconnect and was through no fault of either party. The more technology involved in setting up systems like this, the more likely there may be glitches such as this along the way.
It has been amusing to hear someone on the other end of the line cussing out an automated system, calling that voice names, etc. Don't worry, call center reps understand. Over the past 6 months I have been working in a call center, I have heard the "lady" of the automated system called all kinds of names. There are several people I believe think the lady is a real person. Others finally reach me and they will ask, "are you a real person" or "are you a real human being and not some machine?" Others just laugh when they say "that automated system didn't understand what I was telling it." Another amusing thing is that some people continue to press buttons on their phone after talking to the automated system and I will receive calls that I have to wait for the other person to stop pushing buttons before they can hear me greeting them.

I hope this information helps someone along the way. I know this blog is not read by that many people yet, but who knows? Maybe the word will spread and people will be able to help themselves to knowing how to connect to what they need.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I Need a New Car...or Maybe a House...Not This Cat.

Will the thirst for the expensive ever be quenched? Do we not have enough to spend our money on? Take a look at the link below. Anyone out there have a strong desire to spend a small fortune and doesn't know what to spend it on, head over my way. I could use a new car. Or even a small house fit for a grandma with grandkids wanting to visit.


http://shopping.yahoo.com/articles/yshoppingarticles/89/how-much-is-the-kitty-in-the-window-22000

Monday, March 17, 2008

Calorie Burning Chart

I just found this cool website that allows you to enter your current weight along with the amount of time you choose to enter, such as 30 minutes, 60 minutes, etc. and it will give you a chart listing all kinds of activities and the calories you are burning for each, based on your weight. I can't tell you how accurate it might be, but it lets you have a good idea of what you do in 24 hour period and how many calories you are burning each day. Then all you have to do is calculate how many calories you are eating each day and see if you are burning more or eating more.

http://www.primusweb.com/fitnesspartner/jumpsite/calculat.htm

Here is another calculator but it doesn't have as many activities listed. On the other hand, it has other health calculators you might be interested in.

http://exercise.about.com/cs/fitnesstools/l/blcalorieburn.htm

It always takes more mental effort than physical effort for me to lose weight. I suppose it is that way for most of us who are battling with being overweight. A big portion of my problem with weight gain has been the gradual decrease in physical activity over the years. The other part of the problem is obviously that I eat too much for the amount of calories I burn. Now that I am in the state of health that has so restricted my physical activities, I have to do whatever I can to increase my activity level without overdoing it and making myself sick. The challenge has become more than it ever was in the past. That is where the mental effort has to come into the equation. I have to really want to work at this. Always in the past I have had to get "psyched up" to succeed at weight loss. I had to work myself into a mindset that eating right and getting more exercise was what I really wanted to do. Then I usually would attack that project wholeheartedly and have some good success. Eventually, however, I would gradually slip back into the old habits. As all of us who are victims of the yo-yo syndrome of dieting, we lost weight, then gained it back plus more...then lost weight again and gained it back again plus another bonus pack of pounds. I have yo-yo'd all the way up to my current weight and current health and now, after deliberately working on the mental attitude for the past few months along with getting to the place where I have felt good enough to think about all of this to begin with, I am ready to begin. Little things have been changing here and there including appetite changes and changes in what I even want to eat. For instance, I am buying and cooking a lot more chicken and fish and a lot less beef or pork. For one thing, I have figured out over the past few years that certain cuts of pork are actually addictive for me. I know if I buy those I will be in trouble when it comes time to cook and eat them. So, I rarely even buy them anymore. I don't cut them out all together, because then I start craving them and end up buying too much and ultimately cooking and eating too much. But if I buy in moderation, I don't have it to cook so it isn't a problem. There are other foods that can cause me the same problems, so I have learned to not buy those either. Most of those require some preparation to get to the dish that is addictive, so even if I buy the food, I stay away from making the addictive recipe. Mashed potatoes is one of those. In fact, where I used to think I had to have some kind of potato dish for every evening meal, I might only have potatoes once or twice a month now. Some of that was planned, and some of it was circumstantial. It is simple. What I don't buy, I don't eat. I don't feel well enough most of the time to make a run to the store for something I might be craving, so I have been learning how to deal with those cravings.
Basically, I am at a sort of ideal place in my routines and life to start this weight loss project. As long as I can stock up on the healthy foods, and the easy recipes, I shouldn't have much of a problem. There are times I eat only vegetables and fruits and when I do that for any length of time, I feel much better. I can tell the difference if I go back to eating heavier foods. And I can really tell the difference when I end up eating fast foods or too much pizza. I know there are easy, low calorie ways to get that pizza flavor without having the high fat-high calorie pie. Sometimes all it takes is a nice salad with some tomatoes, pepperoni slices and shredded mozzarella cheese on it. In fact, another good thing about having been feeling so bad for such a long time, I find it much easier to be satisfied with just a little amount of food rather than going back for seconds. So now I want to try to find out what I can really be comfortable with rather than thinking I have to be stuffed to feel full. That was all I knew growing up so that is what I carried into adulthood and all through my life. From my viewpoint, when I watch someone take the small servings and then be satisfied with that, I have to stop thinking about that as just an appetizer. Now I can be satisfied with a snack size portion or appetizer as long as it isn't one of those addictive foods I have learned to stay away from.
Another part of that mental attitude is working on the self discipline that it takes to stick to the program, especially increasing the physical activity. Right now that part has to be kept at a delicate balance because doing too much can set me into another atrial fibrillation episode. Then I don't want to do much of anything because that just zaps all my energy. Right now, when I am feeling good, I have a lot of pent up mental energy. There are many times I think I can just get up and go do something I used to do only to get up and be smacked by the arthritis pain or the shortness of breath. That shortness of breath is going to be one of the next topics of discussion with the doctor next month. Since finding out that I can't yet get off the "water pills" because the fluid built up again and took my breath away there for a day or two, I am going to ask if there is something different we can do to get more of the excess fluids off. I have always held excess fluids but not to this extent.
This brings me to another thing I have done in my eating. I have cut out all added salt. I used to keep a little salt shaker handy to add salt to everything I cooked. I never put much salt in the foods I cook so those who don't love salt like I do don't have to eat it. Well, I found out I was addicted to salt. The interesting thing about that was that I wasn't addicted to the food with salt...I was addicted to the salt with the food. That means that certain foods made salt taste really good...not that salt made certain foods taste really good. Does that make sense to you? That started my salt reduction, and the health issues continued the salt reduction. Now I probably put even less salt in the things I cook. I haven't seen that salt shaker in months and months. If I can get my plate away from the stove before adding salt, no salt gets added because I am not going to choose salt over keeping my knee from pain. I think I used to buy new salt about every couple of months...I only buy it once or twice a year now. Amazing, huh?
Okay, now that I have written another booklet here tonight, let me close by saying that I am not rushing through any weight loss plan like in the past. This time it will take some time. Baby steps. That is all it is going to be for awhile. And no reprimanding myself for falling here or there along the way. That is another thing I have learned over the years...falling is not failing unless you don't get back up and keep going. It really isn't about the destination, but it is about the journey getting there. My life journey has been and will continue to be an adventure.

Got Your Green On?

Yep, it's St. Patrick's Day and if you don't have your green on, you might just get pinched...or so the kids will tell you. Most of us have heard all about how St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland and of course that is why we celebrate this day...Right??? Well, take a look at the links below and get some more information about St. Patrick and what this day is really all about. While you are at it, have a bit o'fun.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Beware the Ides of March...

Today is that famous Shakespearian day--the Ides of March. Any superstitious among us? Not me. Actually today has been a pretty good day. Got the chance to make more good videos of Grandson today in his own habitat. The kid is smart. Only took being told one time to go over to the laundry basket and throw Daddy's socks around the room. Apparently he had already been doing that earlier in the morning, so getting Grandma's permission to do it again was just what he wanted.
I am finding out I think I am going to have to continue with two of the three meds I was allowed to stop taking. Those are diuretics and I have been off them for just a few days and already have gotten bloated in my chest cavity making breathing very difficult tonight. Well, I have also been thinking water retention is also a big part of the weight gains I have been experiencing. So, I started back on them tonight to get a head start for tomorrow.
Hopefully I will be feeling good enough in the morning to get back in church tomorrow morning. Since I got this sick I haven't been in church regularly for over a year. After being there 4 times a week and dropping down to none...it will be good to get back. I really miss choir but that will still be awhile before I can get back into singing in public. With the breathing difficulties I have had this past year plus, I haven't been able to sing my way through one entire song until just recently. Some days I can sing several songs in a row, but most of the time, I can make it through at least one. It is interesting that singing can make breathing difficult for awhile afterwards. Maybe that is my problem tonight and not fluid retention. I was trying to sing with Sandi Patty as I drove to and from my daughter's house. That can knock the wind out of anyone! What a voice that lady has! On a good day...a healthy day, I can reach most of her pitches, but what I sound like doing it is another story! Today I did pretty well part of the time, but maybe I overdid it. Look out--Lung Strain!!! LOL This is one of the reasons I keep my Sandi Patty tape in the car and not in the house. I wouldn't want to have anyone else be able to hear me screetching as I sing along with the tape.
I figured out that since my son gets his daughters on Thursday for Easter weekend and I have Friday as my day off that weekend, I can have them spend the night with me Thursday night. Am I up for that? We will see come Friday evening. At least they are big enough to get themselves into their own seat belts and I don't have to crawl in and out of the back of my van to get them belted in. I am really looking forward to spending some time with my granddaughters for a change. I get to see the boys more often and have had the older of the two boys spend the night with me before. He is a pretty good kid too. He likes to sit up in Grandma's big chair with me and we watch YouTube cartoons...the old ones I grew up with and his dad grew up with. Cartoons the kids don't get to see anymore. Bugs Bunny. Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. Mighty Mouse, and lots more. He gets to see old Muppet Shows, and other quality kids' programming. I don't think the girls will be able to sit up here with me and do the same, but we will find some good videos to watch. I may have to restrain them from cleaning and rearranging my house to make that playroom they want...like a 6 year old and a 5 year old could move all that stuff around anyway. Right now, just figuring out where they are going to sleep will be the biggest challenge of the day. I think they are going to have to share the couch, but it is a big couch with removable back cushions that makes it like a daybed. The last time they got to spend any time here with me they had to watch the newer version of Once Upon A Mattress with Carol Burnett and her daughter. I grew up with the version where Carol Burnett played the princess. This version Carol plays the wicked queen and her daughter plays the princess. They both like anything having to do with princesses.
Well now, I think I better go update my othe blogs since I haven't done much with them this week.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Busy Fun Day

Just a quick health note...I was back in normal sinus rhythm last night just after midnight.

Today was a good day overall. Worked this morning, had a relaxing afternoon, then went to pick up my granddaughters for their weekend with their dad. I haven't done that for awhile and it was nice to get to do that. It also gave me a chance to play with my new camera. I got some pictures and two really nice videos. The first video they thought I was just taking pictures and they were really hamming it up. Then I got them talking about things and it was really neat. Of course, they are 5 and 6 going on 30, like all little girls their age. They mentally rearranged my house while we were driving home, trying to make room for a play room for themselves instead of having their toy box in a corner of the living room. The youngest loves to clean and do all the cooking and laundry kinds of things. She even told me she got a real cooking set for Christmas so she can help cook at home. The older one loves getting attention but is bashful when she wants to be. I don't get to see these two as much as I do the other two and when I do, it is always fun. They asked if they can come spend the night with me so I need to figure out a good time for that. I am sure they will wear me out! But it will be fun.
Tonight I spent the evening getting the pictures and videos off my camera and onto the computer, emailed a few pictures, and tried to email the videos, but that didn't work. So I made a cd of all the pictures and videos of the grandkids and can just give or mail the cd when I get the chance. After that I spent the rest of the evening playing with YouTube videos and music. I really enjoy YouTube and all the good oldies music they have on there. I was enjoying myself so much I almost forgot about the blogs! Maybe I am not so addicted to blogging as I thought!

Anyone out there want to lose weight and exercise with me? We can make a progress blog if I get enough replies.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Brief Update--Did I Say Brief???

Out of rhythm today. It was later than usual, but maybe because I am not in so much knee pain this week, it was delayed. Well, anyway, the heart monitor is getting it's information today. It is hard to breathe when I am doing anything and out of rhythm, but I still have been up and out of the house today to an appointment. It is a beautiful sunny day out today with mild temperatures in the mid 50's. It is great! I had to get gas for the van today. Yikes! It was a bit lower than it was Tuesday when it had jumped to $3.45. Today it was only a mere $3.39. Quite a jump from the previous $3.18. $40 got me just under 3/4 of a full tank. I can remember when $40 would fill up two family cars. I had my camera with me and should have taken a picture of the gas station price sign. At least I won't have to get gas again for several weeks now.
That's it...told you it was brief.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Health, Stress, Weight, and The Road Back

Tonight's blog comes with a bit of a warning label. It is long. It can be considered serious, maybe even something of a "downer". But if you read on...it is going to end on a very positive note.

The doctor appointment Monday was a good one, but once again I had gained weight. I was NOT happy about that. So, even though those photos (previous blog) look so good, I am going to have to temporarily keep away from those kinds of temptations. At least until I can tell myself that it is much better to take home a doggy bag...which Daughter and I both did. And it was even better the second heating. As in all things we don't like to admit to ourselves, there eventually comes a point where we say Enough Already! I have said that about my weight many times over the years. And many times over the years I have been able to lose weight. I will again. But this time there is a big difference from previous times. This time there is a different attitude, and a different overall outlook on my life. And the change has been so very gradual as to have, at this point, seemed to creep up on me. What I mean by this is that there came a point here recently where I suddenly realized some things that I just hadn't figured out about myself before.
Yesterday I was talking to someone about these very kinds of things and I told her that there is a phrase sticking in my mind lately. The Road Back. Nothing reveals to you how sick you were until you start feeling better. And I am a person who has spent her entire life in a constant state of denial about certain things--especially when I am focusing all my attention on other things that have to be taken care of to the exclusion of taking care of myself. To be honest, I have never fully taken care of myself in a healthy way, because from my earliest years I was already taking care of myself in the way of self-preservation. I am not going to go into the issues that brought a lot of my current problems to the surface. Just suffice it to say that I did not live in a totally healthy atmosphere for a young child. For the most part it was good, but there was the awful stuff which involved different kinds of abuse. Denial quickly became a part of my life at a very early age.
Then if you look closely at the picture of the little girl on the left side of the blog, you can see that the little girl (me) has legs that just don't stand right. And if you look really close, maybe you can see that even the knee caps seem to be in the wrong place. I grew up my entire life being told I couldn't do this or couldn't do that because I had crooked legs. As I got into the ages of trying to decide what to study in college, the what I coulds and couldn'ts got even bigger. But I am still in denial at this time. I did whatever I wanted to do as a child even if I was being told I shouldn't do it because when I got older I would pay for it. I was clumsy. I fell down a lot. I ran and played with the rest of the kids, but I didn't keep up very well. I hated the orthopedic shoes I was always being told I had to wear. I didn't wear them anymore than I had to. I wanted to be normal just like the rest of the kids around me. In high school and in college, and in my jobs, I always was on my feet. I was warned that the more I was on my feet, the worse my legs would be as I got older. Denial. Not me. I was going to be just fine. I was fine then, so I would be fine later. I wasn't really fine because everything I did was already causing a lot of pain that I refused to believe wasn't the same as it was for anyone else, and I did nothing about it. I had convinced myself I was not in any more pain than the rest of the world was. Maybe since I was in denial about my health it helped to make myself believe that everyone else was like me instead of me trying to be like them.
Another warning was that I needed to keep my weight down because that added to the leg problems. I tried. I was put on my first diet when I was 8 years old. Now at this point, let me tell you a bit about that. Up until I was 7 or so, I was not a heavy child. But in my subconscious I decided that some of the abuse would stop if I were ugly, and I thought being fat would make me ugly. The weight gain all started then and in spite of all my attempts to lose weight, I kept gaining. I would lose some, gain more. The Yo-Yo pattern we all know about today. Dieting actually makes people fat. We need to eat right...eat healthy....but not diet. And not deprive ourselves because we set ourselves up for failure right away. I just have trouble doing all that.
Now we are hearing how stress contributes to weight gain. I don't know all the ins and outs of that and I am not into all the so-called quick fixes about cortosol and stress and weight gain. But, what I do know, and what I am figuring out...what I was talking about here earlier about this "knowing" sneaking up on me, is that stress has played such a huge part of my life all of my life, since earliest childhood and on until even today. I know stress is part of everyone's life. But each one of us deals with stress in our own different ways. Some are good at it, and others are not so good at it. I am one of those not so good at it kinds of people. Actually, maybe that is not true. Or maybe what is really true is that part of dealing with stress for me was my poor coping mechanisms. I eat. And eat. And in addition to all this, I have to deal with all that denial stuffed deep down inside of me. Well, what do I stuff it with? Food, of course.
Well over the years I have done a lot better with cutting back on the eating. I have made some pretty major changes, actually. The problem is, that over the years, as my pain increased, my activity level decreased. I didn't tell people that I was in pain. I am not sure I would have recognized it to be able to tell them...my denial was so ingrained. It was pain...wasn't everyone in pain? So, shouldn't I be doing what everyone else was doing? And due to the abuse in my childhood and teenage years, I believed I was somehow deficient because I was not just like everyone else...not just physically, but in other ways too. So...pain becomes very well acquainted with guilt. If I didn't do something all the way or correctly, I felt guilty. If the reason I didn't do it was because of pain, I erased the pain part...and replaced it with the me who was told I was no good. Now don't ask me to explain how a child interprets things. I don't know. Like in this...why could I tell myself my legs were okay and I was not different...when they were not okay. Yet at the same time, I could let someone tell me over and over again that I was no good and that I believed. I had it all twisted and mixed up. You can imagine what this did as I grew into an adult.
And to feel better about all of it, I ate. To get through problems whether they be with normal every day things we all deal with on a daily basis, or something unexpected that comes into all our lives occassionally, I dealt with them all by eating.
Raise your hand if you have been in this position too, whether it be with food, drugs, alcohol, shopping, gambling, or any other destructive thing we do to ourselves to help us cope.

So, I started this with that phrase "The Road Back". This phrase popped into my head last week sometime I think. I was pondering this realization of how sick I had really been since June of 2006, and that actually it was probably building up before that. I remember how bad I felt. I remember at times feeling like if I took one more step I would die because there were times I felt my heart was just going to explode inside my chest. It wasn't pain...and I never had a heart attack. Even before my atrial fibrillation went chronic rather than occassional, I was sometimes feeling that bad. I was in vocational training classes full time evenings and working full time days. I was exhausted, but it took a stress fracture in my toe/foot to slow me down. Something had to give. Because of the hectic schedule I only had time for fast food in between shifts, so I was eating absolutely horribly unhealthy food. But the old guilt was more powerful than the pain and discomfort. Other issues were also at play in this and the stress level was extremely high. And I stuffed all of it so I could just keep going...like that everready bunny. If I didn't keep going, I was just like I was always told as a child...no good...a failure.
Do you know what a nervous breakdown looks like when it only hits you physically??? Like me the past 2 years. I fell apart physically probably because I was in so much denial that I wouldn't let myself fall apart mentally or emotionally. The Road Back takes a lot of turns. The Road Back covers a lot of territory. And as I am realizing today, The Road Back takes a long time...the sicker one is, the further we have to go to get better. Today when I am disappointed in myself because I can't do something I want to do, I stop thinking about being a failure. Instead I may try to find a different way to do it. Instead, I remind myself that my heart was stressed to the ultimate limit. My doctors feared heart failure and kidney failure when I was at my sickest. Thank God all tests came back normal. But still, the heart is a muscle and if a leg muscle can be strained, cannot a heart muscle also be strained? The heart being what it is as the organ that keeps us alive...that pumps all that blood and oxygen through our bodies, if it is strained, and for a very long period of time, it just goes to figure that it is not going to feel normal again very soon. It needs time to get better. The legs hurt. Oh my do they hurt. But for the most part I can deal with that. The issues still having to do with the heart are what are slowing me down the most. And I have come to think that when the pain is at its worst, it causes another atrial fibrillation episode which is one reason I am on this monitor.
My weight has got to start coming down. I will not allow it to go any higher. Thank you again Richard Simmons for that sit down exercise video. That is going to help me out a lot to keep me from being bored trying to exercise sitting down. Thank you all my doctors and everyone else I have gotten help from, including various counselors for the mental health issues from all of this. Depression is also a big problem for people learning to accept disability. Stress being what it is in regards to atrial fibrillation, especially for me, counseling has become a necessity. In the past, that would have been something that convinced me I was still a failure. But you know what? I am not a failure. I never was a failure. If you are in counseling, or know someone who is, give them your support and encouragement. They are doing what they need to do. In fact...when most of the rest of the world around me was telling me to keep going, and not quit (work that is), and didn't really understand how sick I was, it was my counselors who kept me going. It was my counselors who kept being the ones telling me maybe for the first time in my life, that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing...doing what I needed to be doing...and making the right choices when the world around me was making me feel like I was making wrong choices. I am not sure I would have gotten through the worst part of waiting for the determination of receiving my disability benefits had it not been for the way my counselors kept telling me that I was doing what I needed to do to take care of myself.

Here is the upbeat part you were waiting for...I got my disability benefits, and on the first try. I am working part time to suppliment that income. (How many times do we who receive help from the government we paid taxes to, get ridiculed for being a drain on society...to those who complain about us--get over it!!! That's another blog maybe next year LOL). I have had a lot of the stress-causing issues taken care of in the past few months. I have not been in chronic a-fib now for several months although I still have a lot of periodic episodes that may last up to a day or two...not so much now. I am off of 3 medications. I might get to have one more medication changed for a less dangerous kind if this monitoring goes right. I had shingles over the Christmas holidays--YUCK! I hope I never get those again. But once I got past that, I have been steadily been feeling better every day. I still have days when I feel lousy. But there has been a great upside. For instance, I am quite sure that even 2 months ago I would not have been up to doing these blogs. I couldn't even motivate myself to do a regular journal like I used to do before things changed so. Denial wants to rise again at times because I can feel so good I want to get up and go do something simple only to find out when I try that I am forced back to my chair just to breathe. Weight loss will play a huge part in that also. And figuring out that extra activity that causes more pain than usual, and makes me more tired than usual, triggers another atrial fibrillation episode is something else I have to figure into the equation. So there is the cycle...to lose weight, exercise...to exercise I need to feel better...to feel better, I need to lose weight. LOL But it will happen all in a good, healthy time. No more trying to hurry up and get it done. Realistic goals I have never really set for myself before. But now I have my goals. And I am making new goals all the time as I feel better...but all in good time. I need to lose a lot of weight--no I am not telling how much. It is going to take time. Especially if I want to keep it off. I have been sick a long time. (Denial--I never used the word "sick" to describe my a-fib until this past year and I have had it for almost 14 years. It had to go chronic before I accepted that I was sick.) It is going to take time to get fully better. Like 2-3 years is what I am giving myself. And if I don't make it in that time, I have given myself permission to take longer. I have also given myself permission to reach a realistic weight loss goal instead of trying to make myself look like--well what a model would look like if she were an old granny like me. I want to be healthy, not skinny. If any of you wants to join me in this weight loss journey, feel free. Actually I would enjoy the company.

Monday, March 10, 2008

No Taj Mahal Today

We did not make it to the Taj Mahal today after the doctor appointment. The doctor appointment ended up taking close to 2 hours altogether and since the buffet ended by the time we finished, we decided to eat somewhere else. It was after 3 by the time we got to eat. After driving through the city and deciding traffic was just too crazy today, we chose to come back to town and eat at a local Mexican restaurant. But we were both happy about the decision by the time we were finished eating. Daughter didn't bring Grandson along today so we had more time to enjoy the day. Grandson was happily playing with his other Grandma while we did our thing.

The above picture was taken shortly after we got to the restaurant. In the late afternoon, it was not very busy. This restaurant moved from one side of town in a much larger location, to this location. Actually I like this one better.



Daughter chose Jalico (I think that was the name of it) Fajita which had steak, chicken, and shrimp. That is this picture shown at the right.






I chose Fundido Fajita shown below. It had steak, and chicken smothered in cheese.



This picture below is both of our meals all put together. Boy did we enjoy it. Even took some home with us because we were both filled up on chips.







Below are the sides we got with our fajitas.









The doctor appointment went pretty well even though it was a long appointment. I am now able to take 3 less medications than I was before. He had me put on a heart monitor called an event monitor that will record actual EKG's and transmit them through the telephone line to the main company where they will let the doctor know the results. I have to wear this monitor for the next 2 weeks and then see the doctor again in 4 weeks. If the results of this test are good, I may be allowed to get off (or actually change) rhythm medications. I think the doctor was interested in knowing that my rhythm stays normal most of the time except for the day after a busy day like today was. I hope tomorrow doesn't leave me in an a-fib episode again. I have 2 other appointments to go to this week. It's definitely a good time to be monitored.


A few years ago there was this art contest to decorate mammoths that would later be placed around the city. I don't remember the details of the contest. The big mammoths were provided and different groups contributed funds I think to be able to get one of the mammoths, then they would have someone paint it. This mammoth is the only one I know if that is inside a building, although there may be many more. This one is appropriately painted to reflect the Heart Center. You can't really tell it from the picture, but the red part on the side is a big red heart with the EKG across it....and I guess the white lines are veins and arteries maybe??

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Giving You All A Break Today

Today was a quiet day. Worked this morning, watched some church on tv after that, then took a good long nap. I guess I needed it. Tomorrow will be a big day with an hour trip to my electrophysiologist, then Indian lunch and Indian grocery, then probably back home. By then I will probably be really tired. It will be interesting to find out what the doctor says this time. I am feeling better and want to see if he will take me off of some of my medications. Then, again, once I tell him that the "busy" days like tomorrow will be have been leading into an atrial fibrillation episode the following day...who knows what he will decide to do next. Thankfully, those episodes don't last very long...but they sure do wear me out. Because I had two pretty "busy" days a couple weeks ago, I had two days of episodes that week. So last week I didn't do so much. It is so good to be out and able to do more now. It is good to be feeling better. So, enjoy your day off from reading my long monologues. Thanks to all who are leaving comments.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Are You Open Today and Other ??? Life at the Call Center...

It's been snowing all night and most of the day. Blizzard conditions in various areas. Blowing snow closing roads the road plows have just opened. Various emergency levels being declared depending on where you are. Not really a day to be out and about unless you have to.
The call center, usually very slow on bad weather days like this, seemed pretty busy this morning. The most interesting call of all, and one that came in as one of the top 3 calls--"Are you open today?"

Okay, has our society become so addicted to constant activity, to being on the go all the time, that we can't just stay home for one snow day? Is it that difficult to just stay in and play with the kids, or watch a video with the whole family? Or try this one--go outside and have a snowball fight! Build snowmen, snow forts--if the snow is not too powdery. If it is, just go out and play in it. Then come back in and make some hot chocolate and watch that video. Take lots of family photos while you are at it. Who knows when you might get another chance like this one.

Oh, well, maybe you could play video games together too...that is...if you could just get a Wii!
Ahhh, but hey, we could go check if the store has one yet...if we could actually dig ourselves out of the snowed in driveway. Better call and find out if they have any snow shovels. And while we are at it...let's check if they have any sleds. Then we could go outside and play in this snow!!! But here we are, snowed in because we don't actually have a snow shovel. We just somehow didn't think we would need it when the weather started getting cold back last November. And we evidently didn't see any need for checking out sleds back then either. It's always so much more fun to wait until we actually need them before we go looking for them, now isn't it? What a challenge it can be to actually find a sled, any sled on the day we turn time forward because spring is coming.

Well, I can say that I laughed most of my call center shift today. First, because I was totally amazed at how many people were actually calling. Second, because I figure that probably a good 85% of my calls today had to do with these 3 topics: Are you open? Do you have any sleds? Do you have any snow shovels left? The real fun was getting people to not hang up before I connected them to the business because they automatically believed that since someone answered the phone, "Hey! They are open--Let's Go!!!"

Now we can look at it from a different angle. The roads are a mess. The snow is still falling pretty hard and heavy. The wind is blowing and drifting the snow everywhere. Snowplows are out trying to keep the roads clear. Other public safety people are out trying to maintain safe traffic levels. Accidents are most likely occuring even as we speak (on the phone that is). Even if your area hasn't declared any emergency levels for traffic control, do you really think going out and adding to the problems is the thing to do? If you don't have to be out in this weather, stay home. Again, I ask you--is it really that difficult for you to stay home and spend time with your family?

That was this morning. Okay, so around this area, the snow has stopped and I have heard the snow plows go by several times. Since I live in a less traveled area, maybe that means the other roads and streets are getting cleared now. Even the sun is trying to shine. I can see that you might want to go outside to get out for awhile, even if just to check out what the snow looks like everywhere else. Go and be careful if you have to.

By the way...do you know when the best time to sell umbrellas is? Of course...when it is raining!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Cameras, Cameras, and More Cameras

The Kodak Easy Share Z885 won the camera war at WalMart today. It was pretty much my first choice of the three I had picked out online as being available. The lady helping me go through the cameras to find the best one was very knowledgable and very helpful so I felt good about having made the right choice. As my daughter and I were leaving the store later, I told her that it felt good to be spending that much money on something that wasn't just one of my medicines. Now I just have to start taking pictures. I was going to take some of my home, or even my workstation/part time office, but before I do that, I am going to have to get things cleaned up. It's that organization thing again....having to have everything in the right place, but if there is no place....it just piles up. But I am working on it. Oh, and guess what I forgot to do...yep, that's right. I forgot to take my film in to get it developed.
I was hoping to get pictures of my grandson today but he was asleep in the car by the time we got back, so my daughter decided to just go ahead and go home. That way he would get a nap in the car and be set until his afternoon nap.
By the way. I won't be putting photos of my grandkids on my blog, or anywhere else online. I know it is the big thing to do. But all of us feel it just isn't all that safe to be putting kids' pictures online where predators can get hold of them. None of my grandkids' parents want their kids' pictures online either and I respect their decisions. I do hope to have plenty of other photos on here though.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Going Digital

If the weather holds out long enough over night and in the morning, I am going shopping. As much as I love my Canon AE1 camera and would not trade it for anything for photography, I am going to get my first digital camera. I was hoping to hold out until I could afford an SLR digital, but those things are still far to expensive for my budget. Anyone who knows me very well knows that I am notoriously slow about getting my pictures developed. There is always something going on that prevents me from taking the film in once it is filled up with pictures ready to be shared. Usually it is my memory. Just today as I was talking to my daughter about getting a new camera, she said, "Mom, you should take your film in and have it developed tomorrow." Uh, yeh, I should. I figure I have at least one roll, maybe two waiting to be developed. There is some still in the camera so that will wait....depending on how far it is used. I may just go ahead and take it in too. Some of that film that is ready to go is close to 2 years old. It is a good thing film doesn't go bad quickly, or I would be out of luck on many of my photographic endeavors. So, don't you agree--digital is the way to go. I can take my pictures and come home and get them on my computer, then just print the ones I want or need at the time.
Of course, the Canon AE1 is still going to be a big part of my photography fun because there is just so much I can do with it that I can't do with the digital--at least with any digital I can afford. That camera was my birthday gift years ago and it was not cheap. I have a great zoom/macro lens, filters, and all kinds of settings I haven't even figured out yet! (I really need a tutor to help me with those kinds of things because some things when written just go right over my head.) I love landscape photography. I also love taking the real close up pictures of animals, leaves, flowers, and other things you don't normally look at up close. Some of these digitals say that I can take pictures as close as 5-7 inches away, which is really pretty close. I am just going to have to see if the quality is as good as it is with my Canon.
So, why am I adding digital to my collection? Well, aside from what I said above about getting the film developed, I have these squiggly, wiggly, quickly growing up grandchildren who don't stop and wait for Grandma to get her camera put together...hmmm which lens will I use for this picture? Oh and wait for me to get the flash attached and for the little light to come on. I need batteries for the flash. I need a different battery for the camera. That camera was not meant for taking pictures of little ones on the run. It is wonderful for the landscape that isn't moving as fast as I try to push a button. It is wonderful for getting shots of animals and children and other people from a distance so that they are truly candid and look close up because of the great zoom lens I have. But it isn't so good in the tight spaces I call home. And, it surely doesn't fit in my purse like a digital camera will. From what I am seeing, these cameras are not much different in size than a cell phone or a pda, so I can have my camera with me whereever I go and be able to catch a shot of something without issues of not having my camera with me when I see something interesting...like the bald eagle I saw just outside our little town several years ago. I have never seen a bald eagle before and did not believe I was really seeing one then. I had a perfect shot of it, too. But no camera!!! When I got home I did some investigating about bald eagles and found that they can, indeed, be found in our area. That was the first and last (so far) that I have ever seen anywhere, let alone in our area. I can't tell you how many deer, or blue herons I have had to pass up because I didn't have the camera with me. A few months ago, I did have the camera with me and went to have lunch beside a nearby lake while I was doing business in that area. There standing in the water, not more than 50 yards from me (probably closer) was a blue heron waiting for his lunch. My camera was still in the bag. I put it together as quickly as I could hoping and praying that the bird would stay put just long enough for me to get all set up. Sure enough, just as I was finishing, the heron took flight and I lost my chance. Canon AE1's need planning for good photography. Digitals don't. Reason enough. Then, once the pictures are on my computer and then on CD, I can share them so much easier with other family members and friends. Oh, and organizing digital shots on the computer is going to be a lot easier than the task I have ahead of me of organizing my great big box of photos. My daughter got me some of those photo boxes for getting my pictures all put together nicely and neatly. I hope she wants to help.
Having both cameras is going to be a big plus as an incentive for helping me get feeling better physically. I want to get out this spring and take pictures to put on my blog. And I still have a goal from ages past that has not died...to be more than just an amateur photographer.
Well, I have been doing my homework. I am learning about megapixels and optical zoom. So far I have narrowed my choices down to 3 cameras available locally. One is the Kodak EasyShare Z885 8.1MP Digital Camera with 5X Optical Zoom & Image Stablization. Next is the HP 8 MP Photosmart Mz67v Digital Camera with 6X Optical Zoom & Image Stablization. Finally, there is another Kodak--the Kodak 10MP EasyShare V1003 with Image Stablization--it only has 3X Optical Zoom. Each camera has its pluses and minuses. So I am weighing the pros and cons of each camera and hoping with a little help from the people at the store, I will be able to make the right choice. Also the first two have movie mode so I can take videos, with sound. The last one, although it has higher megapixel quality, I am not sure it has the ability to do video. It doesn't say on the available info on the website I found it on. Then maybe tomorrow when I get to the store, they might have something that I didn't find on the website that is better for the price than any of these.
Either way, I can't wait to start taking pictures again. Come Monday, I hope to have pictures of one of my most favorite restaurants to put on here. I have an appointment to see my electrophysiologist and my daughter and I generally go there for lunch buffet after the appointment. It has become a regular activity about 4 times a year. The doctor and the appointment are about an hour away so it isn't somewhere we go often. Maybe I will even be able to get some photos of the food on the buffet. If you like Indian food, it will be sure to make your mouth water. Makes me hungry just thinking about it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Grandson Games

I got to play with my grandson tonight. He was here from around 3:30 until 10 tonight. I had him here alone while everyone else had things to get done. So we played this new tv plug in game for awhile. He was so excited to show it to me, but then he didn't want to play it for very long. He showed me each of the games that it had, but in about 10 minutes he was all about the new "horse movie" I had bought. He will be 4 in June and he is all about horses. He likes other animals and will sit and watch them in movies and on tv, but it is horses he is in love with. I think he has loved horses ever since he could talk...at least talk clearly. His favorite movie is FLICKA. Today we watched THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER. He really loves watching the wild horses running through the landscapes. But then, so do I.
He surprised me tonight. About halfway through the evening, I asked him to pick up all the toys he got out before he went to get anymore out. He did it without having to be told again. Then, if he wanted more than one toy, he explained to me that he knew I asked him to put things away before he got out more but he wanted to play with them together. He has always hated putting toys away--doesn't any kid? He has always been pretty well behaved, but this really was a nice surprise because I didn't have to keep after him like I have had to before. Then when it was time for them all to go home, I just had to say once for him to get his toys picked up and he went right to it. He made no arguments about getting his shoes or coat on, or anything else we asked him to do. We watched a little bit of the Big Cats on Animal Planet, and while his dad was watching Phil Collins doing a drum performance with some other drummers on a YouTube video, he watched a little of that, then came and sat next to me and started "playing the drums" on his knees.
When his daddy and his daddy's girlfriend came back, we had his little step sister to entertain. Daddy and gf got busy on my computer getting caught up with emails and other things online while I did the grandma thing. Little baby girl and I got to know each other better. While my grandson is almost 4, baby girl is just 4 months old. She is a tiny thing. But she is a fiesty thing, too. She is not going to be one to sit back and watch the world go by. Already she is sitting herself straight up from a reclining position...like doing sit-ups. She will be happy for a little while on her back or in a slightly reclined position. But then she wants up to see what is going on around her. Grandson brought toys and talked to her and played with her. It turned out that she apparently likes this funny duck call thing we have and when he would blow it, she would laugh. She liked it so much that when he quit to go do something else, she cried.
We all had dinner together, and had a hard time deciding what to get for dinner, so we asked grandson to tell us what he wanted. Spaghetti and koolaide, Grandma, he decided about a half hour later. Since I didn't have anything in the house to make spaghetti, we decided we would all order from a local sitdown restaurant and my son would go pick it all up. Grandson ate just a little bit of his and said he was full. A few minutes later he was looking to see what the rest of us got and asking to have some of ours. We reminded him that he had his own and he said he was full. So he went back and ate some more. Then he said he didn't want anymore. Awhile later he said he didn't like spaghetti. I asked why not and he said "I don't like sauce on my spaghetti." Not sure how much he actually ate.
Now, if I can just get Grandson's sisters here, that would be a good thing. They don't get to come and stay with their dad except every other weekend for now and the weekends are just so busy for the family that they don't have the extra time to get all the things done they need to do and still have time to come see Grandma. Ahhh, but now I know the secret....FOOD! That is how I got them over here to begin with today, I think. I offered food. And in the end, the food was my son's treat! What a deal!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

'GENEALOGIST'S PRAYER: "God grant me the serenity to accept the ancestors I cannot find, the courage to find the ones I can, and the wisdom to document thoroughly." '
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I found the above on this website... http://www.rollintl.com/roll/fun.htm . Take a peek. You might like some of the genealogical trivia you find there.
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Check this website if you want a chuckle or two to start your genealogy hunt for the day. http://www.ancestry.com/learn/library/article.aspx?
article=4118&cj=1&o_xid=0001029688&o_lid=0001029688 If this doesn't work, make sure you have all this long URL in the window. It might be too long for this space to show as a full link.
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Or this one to find out what the top ten ways to tell if you are a genealogist: http://www.abaysview.com/RUGenie/Genealogist.htm
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OH NO!! Are you a geneaholic??? Find out here-- http://members.tripod.com/~bayoujac/dg.html
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Go here to find out the symptoms of the dreaded Genealogy Pox. http://www.pennyparker2.com/pox.html "The unusual nature of this disease is the sicker the patient gets, the more he or she enjoys it."
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Some general quips about genealogy can be found here: http://www.joke-archives.com/oneliners/geneologyquips.html
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Okay, we have all heard about Murphy's Law, right? Check out Murphy's Genealogy Laws here: http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~gaseeger/funny5.html
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Can hunting for your ancestor's headstones lead to arrest? Find out here: http://www.jaydax.co.uk/genlinks/stories.html
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Find out how to tell if you are addicted to genealogy--go here-- http://www.pennyparker2.com/addicted.html
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Are we related? Find out here: http://members.aol.com/rprost/relatives.html
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Tired of those error messages when a website won't load? Check this out for a different twist... http://www.rootdig.com/error.htm be sure to read it all.
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" The Inevitable Laws of Genealogy" http://members.tripod.com/~Data_Mate/Genlaws.txt
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For more humorous websites about Genealogy, please check out this link.
http://www.cyndislist.com/humor.htm Great when you need to give yourself a break from the hunt but still can't tear yourself away from genealogy altogether.

Weather Improvement?

Well, when I got up for work this morning, the temperature was 36 F and most of the ice from the previous evening was melted although there is some light snow on the ground. It is windy and right now I can hear a little sleet hitting the windows and roof. Amazingly, there is school today and no delay...the storm is not supposed to end until tomorrow sometime around noon. Since I haven't seen any new weather report yet, hard to tell what has or has not changed. What I do know is that the call center was slow today and I worked a total of 43 minutes before I was called and allowed to get off early. I "jumped" at the chance....as much as anyone my age, weight and disabled knees can jump. Basically, I like getting called to take off early whenever they want to call me, as long as I still get enough hours in to cover my bills. Speaking of bills, I really do need to get out to the bank and take care of some of my own bills. Will I go today? Probably not.
Hey, this is March. Known for being unpredictable in the weather department. This past winter has been pretty unpredictable...well at least different than most winters. It is definitely sleeting out there right now. I wonder what will happen with the schools? I did just go check the weather forecast and the warnings and watches. We are still under a winter storm warning until 7 am Wednesday. It really surprises me then that the school bus was just past here, only a few minutes later than usual, picking up the one across from me who goes everyday. I even checked the school delay listings online, but there were none listed anywhere around here. Wonder what the schools know that the rest of us don't.
Well, I have a sort of weather break right now so I am going to get busy and use this time to learn more about how to make money with blogging.

Weather

We are getting a major winter storm here tonight and through Wednesday morning. So far this winter, all these major storms have missed this area. I am hoping this one passes us by this time, especially since it is including lots of freezing rain and sleet, covered by snow tomorrow and wednesday. The freezing rain started a few hours ago and it is getting icy outside quickly. This kind of weather always bothers me because of the possibilities of power lines coming down. I am praying that won't happen here. So far I don't remember having ever had to deal with a major power outage, but since I don't have any kind of kerosene heater I don't want to find out now. Thankfully I have a gas stove...which in all other cases I hate having...but I can turn on the burners without electricity. It has electronic ignition so I am not sure I know how to get the oven on without electricity. It may be the only source of heat I will have if the power goes out. I guess the furnace won't work without the fan being able to blow, so...well, let's just keep praying for no power outages.
This is yet another area I am having to get used to with being disabled. Not that I would attempt to go outside in icy conditions anyway, I have come to realize that weather conditions have a lot to do with how a person feels when they have various disabilities. The cold gets to the bones....deep to the bones in a way nothing else does. So does dampness, high humidities...or maybe it is the barometer. When I was young I can remember a friend telling me her mom could tell when it was going to rain...she could feel it in her bones. I have learned to believe that. I can tell about 2 days in advance of a big storm that it is going to be a big storm. The harder the storm, the more I hurt. Usually the day of the storm, after it is about over, I start feeling much better. But there are some kinds of weather that makes the whole body ache. So far I haven't found much to help ease that pain. But, then, since I don't have medicaid anymore, I haven't been able to see a doctor about the arthritis or other aches and pains. So all I have to take is extra strength aceteminophen tablets.
As you can probably figure out by now, I don't like weather that isn't just nice and sunny. My perfect climate would be around 75 during the day and in the low 50s at night. My windows would be open 24 hours a day.
I keep thinking that I should enjoy the weather tonight because I won't have to work in the morning. Yeh, right! Unless I do have a power outage, I will be working in the morning. The call center never sleeps except on Christmas day. It will probably be a slow morning though. Most of the people will probably be housebound with the ice so there won't be a lot of reason to be calling. No weather days for a work at home granny.
If you are getting any of this bad winter weather, enjoy it if you can. If you don't see a post on here for a day or two, that would probably mean power or dsl is out. Keep your comments coming though.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Black-eyed Peas and Collard Greens Anyone?

A couple of months ago my daughter picked up some groceries for me. She brought me some canned black-eyed peas and canned collard greens. I have only cooked black-eyed peas fresh for an Indian curry and wasn't really too fond of them. I have never had collard greens before, but I love spinach. Any chance they taste anything like spinach???
Anyway, if anyone out there has any good recipes to use these two items, please let me know. I have 2 cans of each. I figure they sound like they could be used together in some southern style meal. In the meantime, I am going to check out the online recipe websites to see what I can find.