Wednesday, July 23, 2014

In and Out of Balance

Working with The Hospice Supper club 
keeps a certain balance in my life. 
It feels so good  give! 
The perspective it lends it priceless. 
Everyone I've met is so appreciative.

I spent half an hour with ninety-two year old Ethel and enjoyed hearing about her life. She told me about how she had her twin girls when she was forty and "back then" it was unacceptable to be pregnant at such an "old age." 
Times sure have changed!  Ethel said her dad didn't talk to her for six months because he was disgraced because, (she thinks) in her father's eyes, she was too old to have sex. She said that to me! 
Once the babies arrived he got over it.

I discovered she is hooked up to the braille library and she listens to an entire book every day. You heard that right. An entire book a day. 

She took a fall getting out of bed and had to use her Life Alert for the first time. Her walker was tangled in her throw rug. Down she went! 
 The paramedics came and helped her up. They took the rug with them. 
I could tell it was a big deal, the whole fall thing, as she went on how it wasn't her fault. Blame it on the throw rug. She's so cute!
Dad's Baby -- He parks the Shiznit  in his metal shop,
never drives it and refuses to sell it.
Go fig. 
On another note, Wrecked Rex is fixed! We pick up Lucas's car tomorrow and return the Shiznit to my Dear Old Dad. Family-car-harmony will be restored!

Lucas' UCLA heart test results arrived this afternoon 
and I have no idea how to interpret the three "Result Impressions." 
One mentions that 
"The RCA coronary artery flow reserve value is abnormal, however it is due to the increasing resting value, therefore...blah, blah, blah." 
No Comprendo! 
Until I know what it means there will be no worries
Let the problems find you, I say :)

Finally, there is mucho to cram in tomorrow with
 the car switcharoo and leaving for Big Bear.
 It's overwhelming and I am 
out of balance 
just thinking about  it.
 Feeling in and out of balance is the natural flow of life!
Right?  Das Right!

Hospice Wednesday

Today is my hospice cooking day. I baked my quiche (turkey, onion and cheese), brownies then cut up watermelon  for my 92 year old friend that is blind with one arm and leg that's paralyzed due to several strokes. Despite her health issues, "Ethel" is still on top of her game mentally!  We have conversations and she asks about my job and kids. She tells me about her grandchildren and daughters. I can't believe how sharp she is! Old people love to visit and talk. I think it's because they spend so much time alone.
 I have been cooking for hospice for almost one year. In that time only one person passed and it was not due to my chicken tacos! The branch of hospice I'm involved in meets the needs of old/sick/disabled folks that are not necessarily dying tomorrow, but could use a homemade dinner/support once a week. 

If you were wondering if this quiche was made with our organic free range chicken eggs from the surviving six chickens in our coop? Then, yes!  And, they are delicious! I must add that the days of collecting fresh eggs are numbered over here. After the last chicken died from mites (gross) and Teckie had to powder all the chickens down and treat their bedding (I use that term loosely; they poop in their bed), he admitted he was growing tired of his brood. The last chicken death was about six weeks ago and I could tell he was "finished." The novelty has worn off -- finally! 
Don't get me wrong, the six in our yard are friendly chickens. Some like to be pet, like cats, and they love to eat our scraps. Last week one laid a jumbo egg that I'm almost positive is a double-yolker. It's crazy big and I don't know how she pushed that baby out!
 You can tell by the photo that Goldie and Sara still ache to feast on those fresh chickens. Sara actually licks the fence every day, like she can almost taste them. However, It looks like until they die off, they are here to stay. How long will that be? Nobody knows.  For the time being,  it works out wonderful because "Ethel"  LOVES the custom ordered quiches I deliver. 
I'll  squawk to that -- Bak, Bak!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

From SB to Oxnard -- Life's a beach!

Bikes and Santa Barbara go together. Having our wheels this weekend made everything easier... mainly, no parking. We cruised everywhere and locked them up and went on our way to the beach, to eat, to a volleyball tournament. 
We even rode along the ocean through  Santa Barbara (SB), then through fancy Montecito neighborhoods, then along the bustling 101 Freeway (there's a safe bike path) all the way into Summerland! It was forty minutes each way and an exciting sweaty adventure. 
My favorite destination was out to the pier at sunset. 
Santa Barbara ... what an amazingly beautiful city! Teckie and I are both very thankful Lui and Miss Piggy LIVE there. In summer, there are so many tourists. It's interesting to ride around hearing all the different languages. It's like "It's A Small World" ride at Disneyland! This is a city where everyone is active and it just feels plain good to be alive and immersed in all that action. A blessing for sure!
Locking up our wheels to a palm tree
It felt like Miss Piggy and I were seven again -- we lived on bikes as children.  It was our set of "wheels" and enabled us to ride to Sprouse Ritz for a candy run, or over to a friend's house to play in the sprinklers - not play video games.
Miss Piggy and  Teckie look like so happy together. 
Did I mention that this weekends jaunt up the coast was practice for our boys to stay home alone? I was anxious at first,  but we had some good conversations that lead me to believe they wouldn't t pull any shenanegans like we did when our parents left town. But still -- I had my neighbor keep an eye on the house as she catches a lot that I miss.

Like a few weeks ago when she texted me and asked if I was home. I was home on the couch (potato). Concerned, I  asked if she was okay. She went on to tell me that she just witnessed Lucas driving down the street slowly with Daniel holding on to his car riding his skateboard!  I flipped!  Boys are so reckless, I don't like to think about it. Of course, they both received a good talking to. During which, one asked, 
"How did you know?" 
"I live here." I said, as if I saw it first hand. 
They still don't know about the spy next door.
Anyways, they did fine home alone. They washed the Shiznit and The Wiener Sisters. I hoped to keep them busy because idle hands are the devils tools, no? 
Sunday we attended a beach BBQ and the weather was clear (you could almost touch the Channel Islands), water was warm and the company fabulous ("10" all the way around). We were celebrating a friends 49th birthday. This is a neighbor I grew up with playing Pirates in the backyard and acting out The Grease songs to the 8-track in my bedroom. She always got to be Olivia Newton John when we sang "You're the One That I Want." Not fair, but she was older so I had to shut up and be John Travolta. 
"I got chills, they're  multiplyin' " ...Good times :)
The birthday girl  AKA "Sandy" with my boys 
I loved getting to spend time with her friends and family and enjoy
 their beautiful house planted right on Silver Strand Beach in Oxnard.

The birthday girl's big sister was our babysitter! 
I love and cherish this family :)
The weekend was so go-go-go, that I was happy to catch up on laundry and do a million little things  in "mi casa" on Monday. Daniel spent the day at the beach surfing and Lucas was working at Overboard's house doing odd jobs. Why?

 He is paying us back for the insurance deductible from his car accident a couple weeks ago. So, before regiment band starts up, he has to bust a move and earn just $150 more dollars, then we are "square" as my dad would say. If you have any odd jobs - babysitting to gardening, please contact him.

My Monday concluded with a late evening unicycle ride. It was much easier than on Friday with the falls and puffing. The key to distance riding is consistency. That's not always easy. I want to beat myself up for not being better at it. 
But instead, I choose to put grace in those places I fall short and just be thankful that I have legs that work plus a body and mind that can keep the balance.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Rideday

Work, love and play are the great 
balance wheels of man's being.
Orison Swett Marden
Ah, yes ... balance! What a wonderful thing! Riding my unicycle today required an extra dose  because my son overfilled my tire and it was tight.  That results in being squirrely when cruising. I fell a few times! A lot of that is because I haven't unicycled my four-mile course in a while, hence the low-air tire. 
I can't juggle, but I CAN ride a unicycle and take a picture of my shadow :)
Did you know that a unicycle is easier to ride if the tire is just a tad low/flat? That's how beginners are supposed to start. Blanche needed less air in her only tire today. Oh, but what a beautiful morning to go for a ride.  It's Friday! The sun is out, temperature here in Southern California is perfect, many kind people waving, lots of smiles and there I go riding off kilter and falling on my feet (thankfully). Then, hopping right back on my horse! Repeat. Repeat.
Jeez Louise!
Losing balance is the sign that I need to get out and cruise Blanche more often! The bottom line? It was sweaty-challenging fun and a perfect start to my weekend.  This afternoon, Teckie and I are taking our bikes (the two-wheelers) and driving them up to Santa Barbara for an overnight-er with Miss Piggy, Lui, and their dog-child, Cinco. They live blocks from the ocean so we have fun putzing around, walking on the beach, going out to dinner, you get the picture.
Whatever you do this weekend, may God bless it with joy, harmony and safety. 
Peace and keep The Balance!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Get Ricky Out!

My neighbor was able to take a photo of Ricky Raccoon when he visited her front yard.
Remember the "super moon" a few nights ago? It lit up the night sky like a giant light bulb -- so cool. Wild animals are extra active around here when the moon is that big and The Wiener Sisters go berserk being able to hear and see the nocturnal rodents outside. 

The doggies started barking at 4AM and I let them out the back garage door while I walked around and saw a silhouette of a huge rodent drinking from the dog's water bowl on the patio. I flipped on the light and hurriedly stepped outside to try and scare him away before my dogs made it to the backyard. This raccoon was MUCH bigger than them and could easily hurt or snack on them. 
You know how much we love The Wiener Sisters! 
I was freaking out. Adrenalin activated.
Does somebody need a hug?
That scene from Elf flashed in my head while I nervously clapped and yelled to get him to scat.  I didn't want to get too close. Ricky looked right at me, taking his sweet time leaving. 
The nerve.
I am keeping a bat by the back door to defend myself and dogs should Ricky return. What aggressive hungry raccoon  wouldn't  love to feast on some delicious hot wieners? 
 My solution?  
We'll trap him, like we do when we have opossum problems. Then, animal control can haul him off to the raccoon slammer. 
I want Ricky out of our hood for good.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Smooth Sailing with a Little Obama Head

Todays trip to UCLA could not have gone any smoother. We made it down to Los Angeles and knew exactly where we were supposed to go (this time). At the Nuclear Medicine Department there was one small glitch.  The guy putting in his IV messed up the first time and he had to be poked again. It totally made Lucas anxious, but inside I knew it was a small blip ... NOT even a smidgen close to "open-heart surgery!" 

They did not let me watch, but Lucas said he laid in a big tube for the PET/CT cardiac perfusion test. At one point they put something in his IV that made his heart pound and have an overall feeling like his body was working hard. It was difficult to breath, he started sweating and his heart was walloping in his chest. He said it only lasted minutes; then they gave him antidote to stop his heart and body's reaction. The hardest part was having to lay completely still for so long. We get the results in the next few days.
 When we left, they informed us that he may still have small amounts of radiation in his body and is capable of being  detected by radiation monitoring equipment. Lucas was literally radioactive!

The best part of the day was smooth sailing home and then later taking him for Senior Pictures. What a milestone! I told him it was a blessing for a parent to "get" to do this. All the sick kids we have seen though the years that didn't make it? It  was their parents that were heavy on my heart driving home. So, I said an extra little prayer of thanks that I was given the gift to see him looking all handsome in a black-tie tuxedo on top and shorts and flip flops on bottom.  It's the little things bring big joy.

Totally off the subject but ...
Google is not letting me log into my blog on my computer; it says "I don't have access to this service." My personal Teckie has worked late every night this week so I am stuck coming at you from my ipad that has a blogger app that doesn't have all the fan-dangled options. It basically stinks. That's why this post looks so different; a tad off balance from the usual. As a result of this faux pas, you "get" to read a little post that I was putting together because I can't figure out how to work this lame blog app and the two are strangely connected. I should have used Wordpress! 
Ah Hem ... 
Have I ever mentioned that I keep a file labeled "Things that make me laugh" 
Here are two of my current favorites. I don't usually get politcal, but I laugh everytime I see Gene Wilder holding little Obama head. What creative mind thought this one up?
We always watched MASH growing up, so I enjoy this one too.
Finally, the end of my drivel! If you are reading this, it means you have stayed with me all the way through this "off balance" post. 
Congratulations! You are either a true-blue friend or my mother :)

Monday, July 14, 2014


Sort of a cool date today, no?
7-14-14 ... sounds like the combination to my high school locker.
Or number from the bible. 
I like seven and its multiples. Twenty-one? A winner as well.  
I'm just sayin.
Wrapping up last  week ... Jenny flew in from Arizona this past Saturday
 (I drove Lucas to the airport).
 Daniel finished basketball camp last Friday and he made the all-star team!
 He was sad to see it end.
 Fun, sweaty week!
Good news ... Lucas' car can be repaired so REX, as he named it, will come home in a couple weeks.  My generous father is loaning us his 1999 Suburban, AKA "The Shiznit," that has been sitting in his metal shop for years.   And you can smell it.  Next time I drive, the bleach wipes are coming along.
  That Shiznit is an interesting ride.
More on that later.
Having Jenny around this weekend was a treat.
 She joined us for dinner at our friend's home.
Friends are the family you choose for yourself :)

It was a gorgeous day to swim at Larryland, horse around and watch the World Cup. "Hooray" for "Germanay!" If you say it like that it rhymes.
 See what I did there?
 We walked down to our favorite Chinese restaurant. It felt like we had three kids, but my husband told me I should not say that.
So -- I sort of take it back
(But that is how it felt, the kids get along so well).
 Today we hit the beach where Dan surfed and the other two took  a long walk and napped. I started a new book and took a siesta as well. 
 The weather was unusual. It rained - making it feel like Hawaii or somewhere tropical, not Ventura. It was an overall beautiful day that ended at In and Out Burger. I Loved not having to cook and having a houseguest has been the perfect excuse to eat out. 
It's back to the Arizona desert for Jenny.
I will be driving them to Burbank tomorrow afternoon. Then, Lucas and I are heading to Cutie-Pie's house in Hollywood for dinner. Yes, that means we get to see Benson! I love that kid. Nephews and cousins rock!
Daniel will be at Magic Mountain all day long. Thankfully, I was able to weasel out of going this year. It's always memorable, but long, snake-around-lines in the heat is challenging, what I really mean, is miserable. The friend company is absolutely fabulous, but the crowds? Eh, not so much.
Overall its been a blessed past four days filled with health, family and summer memories. All gifts from God that I never want to take for granted. I hope your  weekend and 7-14-14 was one to remember, too.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Accidents and Heart Tests always get meee doooown...

I know, I know!
The Karen Carpenter tune sings
 "Rainy days and Mondays always get meee doooown."
 But Unicycle Rose could not resist revamping the title to fit this post. Why?
Yesterday was one of "those days."
Thankfully, I have not experienced a bad one in a looooong time. It started with our UCLA visit; traffic, crazy drivers, running late, totally lost, stressed out. UCLA is a miserable goliath of a zoo. Or, that is how it felt. We were wandering in the middle of campus; people everywhere, and note that I am not a Big City Girl.
That place is THE melting pot of L.A - it was a cultural experience with a jillion people at every turn giving us wrong directions.

We arrived at the Nuclear Medicine department five minutes late (12:35), only to be told that our appointment was at 11:00, not 12:30.

 I was like "NOOOOO, it was at 12:30. I'm postitive.  I talked to Jessica on this date at this time and blah, blah, blah."
Thankfully, I had brought my calendar which is the priceless blueprint of our entire life. I asked to use the bathroom, mostly to regain my composure and shed a frustrated tear -- I felt  tense as I started consciously recalling Lucas after his second open heart-surgery, bad flash back, and then I realized...
 "Wait, THIS is NOT open-heart surgery!
Not even close ...This is NOTHING! We got this."
It's all about perspective, right?

There was definitley a miscommunication and the bottom line was that they thought we were a "no show" and the amonia needed for the test was no longer available. We had to reschedule to next week! They were kind enough to cover our parking fee (Big City Parking Charges ... FARUMPH to you!) and we left. Again, receiving more wrong directions to the Congenital Heart Cardiology Center, that I was advised to check out. We left to get some ridiculously overpriced gas and hopped back on the jam-packed freeway.
I really don't like the Big City.

The UCLA morning was not wasted as I spent a healthy chunk of time with Lucas and we talked about a lot of deep stuff like compassion and the solitude of sickness. Seeing terribly ill people starts you chewing on heavy topics...
 our time together was well spent.

Later that night, Lucas left for Church Youth Group.
 His unexpected text arrived about 8:45,
"I have really bad news, will call ASAP."
  Lots of things crossed my mind, in which, NOT ONE was that he had been in a car accident. But darn it, that's what he confessed. It was his fault miscalculating a left turn ... airbags deployed, both cars not drivable, three police cars, fire truck and ambulance arrived. Are you getting my fragile Parental Picture? When we pulled up at the scene, there was Lucas, the other teen boys that were hit, and a nice calm cop.
Thankfully, and MOST importantly, no one was hurt!
Praise The Lord! (repeat three times).

Yesterday's adventure of "heart tests and accidents" drove home the truth that
 the most important things in life are not things. Family and good Heath are tied for number one!
Things can be replaced, people can't.
Truth is ...Blips in life will sail our way and we'll naturally react. After taking that deep breath, it's crucial to assess What REALLY matters?

Final Thought ... You better believe I LOVED parking my bottom on Silver Strand Beach watching Daniel surf late this afternoon.
It was a no-brainer that my soul and sanity embraced .


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Routine Test

Lucas and I are headed to UCLA this morning for a myocardial profusion study. That is a nuclear medicine procedure that illustrates the function of the heart muscle. His cardiologist recommended it as a routine test due to the types of heart surgeries he had seventeen years ago. Routine test sounded good to me until I googled it this morning. Why does anyone ever do that? It plants weeds in your brain that produce bad thoughts.
Reading that the test evaluates many heart conditions it caught my attention when I read "such as coronary artery disease and heart wall motion abnormalities." I suppose that is what they want to look closer at,  as his coronary arteries were replanted when he was a baby. Of course, my concerns are many, but I trust God who has only worked miracles in his life since Day One. I am not only referring to Lucas (finally) deciding to get his long hair cut last week, but most importantly the fact he has survived and thrived despite the roughest start.
"Why did you want  to cut off all  your hair Lucas?"
His answer: "It's time for me to grow up."
Miracles of miracles :)
One part I dread is driving to Los Angeles. I hate L.A. - nothing has changed there. Having to find parking and where we are supposed to go in the new medical center? No bueno. And, stupid as it sounds, I have this irrational fear that the "Big One" will shake Southern California whenever I drive to L.A. The thought hides in the corner of my brain as I crawl down the Sepulveda Pass into the smog. I am  **"Quakeaphobic" and am able to lead a normal life despite this fear. 
All I can do is place trust in God who has protected us through every congenital heart adventure and California earthquake.
Today I'll keep focused on those two little words: Routine Test.
  **This confession makes me sound like a lunatic. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

God Opens Doors

In late March, my Teckie gently suggested I look for a way to make some extra money. What was I going to do?
 I started praying about it and asking God, "How can I do this? Please open a door."  
It's not like we were desperate for money, but we bought tickets for Maui in October, and some extra dough would help smooth out some pressure he must have been feeling. Still surprised he agreed to celebrate our 20th anniversary in a slice of paradise, I was eager to pitch in. Now here I was, brainstorming odd jobs over summer, doing temp work or really anything...
"God, how can I do this? Please open a door."
One morning in early April, I walked into class and my teacher told me that it would be her last day. I was shocked. No, really shocked and speechless. There was more going on in fourth grade than I realized and I am happy to say I didn't know about the drama that was playing out behind closed doors. Needless to say, I was asked to work full time until the end of the year to assist the substitute that was taking over. 
Prepping the class for Open House was really fun!
I easily transformed into a full time hardworking gal, dropping everything to patch together an amazing last couple months for these awesome fourth graders.
(And make some Maui money)
The Fourth Grade Words of Wisdom wall was a big hit!
 Amongst the sour lemons of her quitting, in a small corner, God was opening a door for me to make a little lemonade. It may seem like a "small thing", but the timing of it all felt like a perfectly timed blessing; something that I could NEVER have anticipated unfolded. It felt personal. A door opened.

Now there is the anticipation and planning for Maui
 and that is half the fun, right?
 Sometimes Daniel visited me in 4th grade... And not only
the times he forgot his lunch ... Loved it!
Staying married for twenty years is a BIG-EXCITING blessing/accomplishment. It’s awesome to honor our commitment with a second honeymoon and having God work out the details.
He opens doors!
He can take an unexpected-trying situation and bring out good amongst the ick.
He opens doors!
  Ya know, marriage is a three ring circus? The engagement ring.
 The wedding ring and the suffering.
Aloha :)