Saturday, January 31, 2009

Third Anniversary.

Three years ago today I learned that I had cancer. Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia to be exact. I am so thankful for my current good health.

The lovely Dr. Vinod takes excellent care of me. During my last visit he said the CML is completely under control and if I continue taking my medication there is no chance it will worsen.

Dr. Vinod is one of the most beautiful people I know. He is soft spoken, compassionate and caring. He is also brilliant, one of the heart specialist I saw said Dr. Vinod makes him feel like a country bumpkin because he is so intelligent and his behavior is incredibly well mannered and correct.

The nurses and office staff also love Vinod and the other doctors at the Hematology and Transplant Center. One of the nurses said working at the Center was like working with family because all the doctors insist on being addressed by their first names.

About eight years ago another brilliant doctor invented the drug that changed the life expectancy of CML patients from 3 to 5 years to an almost normal life expectancy. He is Dr. Brian Druker.

He has been featured on 60 Minutes and many other TV shows. He is 'the man' in the search for a cure for cancer. He researched the molecular and cellular changes CML caused and invented a drug to stop those changes, hence stopped the cancer from multiplying out of control. The drug he invented has saved thousands of lives and has been called the next best thing to a cure for cancer. The drug stops the effects of CML but doesn't get rid of it, so if I were to stop taking the chemo drug the CML would quickly take over again.

Dr. Druker is also a humble and lovely man. About 6 months after my diagnosis I sent him an email because the drug was not working as well as it should have for me and in addition to CML I have three other blood disorders. I asked if he could consult with Dr. Vinod about my case. He replied to my email! He asked that Dr. Vinod fax my records to him and together they went over my treatment. Dr. Druker said Dr. Vinod's decision to double my dosage was correct. I was never sent a bill for his help. He actually sees many patients in addition to his important research.

Why are people like Madonna or Brittany Spears idolized and make millions of dollars while brilliant doctors like mine go through life in relative obscurity? Something is very skewed in our society. OK, end of sermon.

Three years after my initial diagnosis words cannot sufficiently express how thankful I am for the blessings I have been given.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


This story was emailed to me by Soupa Sistah.

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: 'When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son? 'The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. 'I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world an oportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.'

Then he told the following story: Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?' I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning. '

Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact...The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates.

Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, 'Shay, run to first! Run to first! 'Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, 'Run to second, run to second! 'Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.

By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball. The smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.

Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay' Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, 'Run to third! Shay, run to third!' As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!' Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team. '

That day', said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, 'the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world'. Shay didn't make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The cowboy.

One of my uncles from California sent this joke:

The Old Cowboy
You have lived to be 71 and know who you are...then along comes someone and blows it all to hell........

An old cowboy sat down at the Starbucks and ordered a cup of coffee. As he sat sipping his coffee, a young woman sat down next to him. She turned to the cowboy and asked, 'Are you a real cowboy?' He replied, 'Well, I've spent my whole life breaking colts, working cows, going to rodeos, fixing fences, pulling calves, bailing hay, doctoring calves, cleaning my barn, fixing flats, working on tractors, and feeding my dogs, so I guess I am a cowboy.'

She said, 'I'm a lesbian. I spend my whole day thinking about women. As soon as I get up in the morning, I think about women. When I shower, I think about women. When I watch TV, I think about women. I even think about women when I eat. It seems that everything makes me think of women.'

The two sat sipping in silence. A little while later, a man sat down on the other side of the old cowboy and asked, 'Are you a real cowboy?' He replied, 'Hell, I always thought I was, but I just found out that I'm a lesbian.'

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ree's Lodge, it's Cheryls fault.

This is Ree's TV area at the Lodge. She asked for help in decorating this area so my sister Cheryl went to work.

Personally, I think Cheryl should get a life, hehehe, but I will humor her and post the changes she made to the TV area.

Doesn't this arrangement look awesome? I like that rug. I wish it was extended under the couch though.

Here it is with a bright red rug and the cow hide on the wall. I love it. Doesn't it look cozy and inviting?

Notice the photo is changed here. The two chairs that are matching should be positioned together, just like Cheryl has them. I also like the couch off the wall just that little bit.
WOW!!! I think this is perfect. Awesome work, I think I will give Sis C all the decorating tasks on this blog. She puts my puny efforts to shame. Welcome to the team. Shall we call her Cheryl Slug? Slug II? Slug Too?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My two nephews were part of the Inauguration!

Today my nephew Jesse walked down Pennsylvania Avenue and waved to President Obama. He was one of a group from McCrossan Boys Ranch who took part in the Inaugural Parade. Sixteen students, eight staffers, seven draft horses, two saddle horses and a wagon made the trip to Washington, D.C. They walked/rode past the President just after 5 p.m.EST.

We were watching on CNN at my house. CNN went to commercial just before Jesse's group went by. We totally missed it! D'oh!

I believe Jesse is walking closest to the Presidents side, he is the tallest one. I pretty sure the First Lady was giving Jesse the thumbs up. He he he. I hope to get a report directly from Jess when he is back home.

He told his sister Shay they had to wake up at 1:00 a.m. this morning to prepare themselves and the horses for the parade.

My nephew Eric is also in D.C. today. He was part of the Iowa National Guard contingent that went to provide security.

Hopefully they were able to take some pictures and will let me post them here another day.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Back to the hood.

I got an email from Ree at this week. I do get to have a compassion child. She gave me instructions for getting started.

She also said she is going to use my idea for the pendant lights and has been searching for the right ones. The Texas Light Smith has one that might fit the bill or they will make custom lights to any specifications. Another option would be to use outdoor light pendants, Lowes has some that could work.

The piece of ornamental iron on the hood border came from The Wrought Iron Decor Store.

What about a large rustic metal clock on the hood?

This clock has an easel to hold it verticle. I Googled large wall clock to find these. Any suggestions?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My nephew is a winner!

My nephew Mark makes me proud for many reasons. He is a very hard worker and a good provider for his family.

He loves his three boys.

He worked extra jobs to help his wife get a nursing degree after they were married and had children.

He's a volunteer firefighter.

When Mark was asked to help his small town with a fundraising project he went above and beyond the call of duty. They asked him to enter a contest, the winners of the contest would have their pictures made into a calendar.

I would guess that most of you have seen those hunky firefighter calendars right? Mark was not asked to do one of those. This is what Mark did for his small town.

He dressed as Tina Turner and sang one of her songs. (The 'man' playing the guitar is my niece Becky.)

Evidently Mark was not willing to lose any body hair for his town.

He had three different outfits courtesy of his tall girl cousins.

Guess what?! The little minx won! He was voted the best in the pageant!

He got to wear the tiara!

And the sash!

Here he is with all the other men that helped raise money for their town. Aren't they purty?

A man has to be very confident in his masculinity to do charity work in their town.

Mark and his little white muff even got to be the coveted December picture for the calendar! I am so proud!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

He abandoned his family.

About 20 years ago my studly boyfriend (now my husband) Bruce was taking me back to my parents home after a rousing night on the town with family members. My brother Don and his wife Josie were with us.

We crested a hill on my country road and saw that a neighboring house had flames licking along its roof line! It was a group home for the handicapped that was in the final stages of construction so thankfully it was not yet occupied. The group home was built on an existing farm place and was situated about 100 yards from the old farm house where I knew a family of four lived.

We went to the door of the farmers home, we knocked loudly and shouted, but no one came to the door. We went inside and I used their phone to dial 911. We were told by the dispatcher to wait inside by the phone in case the fire fighters needed to reach us. We talked and watched out the windows as the roof of the other house became fully engulfed in flames. Fire trucks soon came with their lights flashing. The volunteer firemen worked hard to contain the fire. They sprayed the house we were in to keep it from burning.

A few of our neighbors back then had protested that this group home was being built in our area. I explained this to our small party as we waited and I also mentioned that the farmer and his wife were not the type to be out at this time of the night. We must have watched too many episodes of Quincy because our imaginations took over and we began to wonder.... could someone have harmed the family then started the fire? We decided we must search the home in case the family had been hurt or incapacitated in some way by the alleged arsonist. We knocked, then opened a door and saw the farmer and his wife in their bed. We knocked again, but they still didn't move! My brother said loudly, "Wake up! The house is on fire!" The man jumped up from his bed, his eyes bugged halfway out of their sockets. He grabbed his boots and sprinted towards us. We flattened ourselves against the wall to avoid being trampled as the farmer flew past us and out of the house leaving his wife and his two children who were sleeping upstairs to fend for themselves.

The farmer soon realized it wasn't actually his house that was burning. He thanked us profusely saying they would have slept through the whole thing if we hadn't woken them up.

It was later determined that the fire was accidental, something with the electrical wiring. The house was rebuilt and is still functioning as a group home today.

The moral of the story: Help your wife and children out of the house if you think it is on fire or else your neighbors will forever describe the look of terror on your face as you ran from your home, abandoning your family to their fate. They will laugh and shake their heads as they re-tell the story many times over the years.

Or maybe the moral should be: Yelling, "The house is on fire!" is not necessarily the best way to awaken a deeply sleeping man when the house next door to his is burning.

Another moral possible: Lock your doors so over imaginative neighbors have to go to their own home a mile down the road to call for help when the house next door to yours is on fire.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ree's hood again. It's Bonnies fault.

Last hood post then I have two real posts planned. My sister Bonnie found this exquisite wooden hood border and I had to share it.
Is that about the most gorgeous kitchen you have ever seen? Notice the different counter tops used? And the rock wall? Gorgeous!
We think the Lodge kitchen area needs some curving lines. Right now everything is short straight lines. The hood doesn't need the fancy carving. Something simple would look better, but keep it curved. And it has corbels to tie in with the bar and laundry! I bet Mom and Pop cabinet makers could whip this out, stamp a large ranch brand in the center, distress it, stain it and have it installed in no time!

The wood border is from They don't list any prices on their site and you have to go through a interior designer to make a purchase.

This one is white tile to match the existing subway tile. It is from

What would you do if you had to make the 'hood' decision?

Friday, January 2, 2009

I am still playing with ideas for Ree's Hood. What do you think? Maybe I should get a life of my own?