Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Tribute to the Fire Fighters

My sister's nephew is a fire fighter for the forest service.  He sent his dad these pictures of a day at work and his dad forwarded them along to my sis.  I think she said these were taken over Idaho. His dad says he has done 16 such rappels. 

Such courage!  A tip of the hat to these brave men and women who lay it all on the line to protect our beautiful country.

May they stay safe. 


Saturday, August 24, 2013

900th Post, a Caturday Report & a Recipe!!

Hello Effurybody & Effury Kitty! It's Caturday!  And it's the lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer around here.

First off, Mummy asked me to thank you all for your good wishes at her recent health scare
adventure.  She is feeling much better now!

We's just all hanging out and nappin as much as we can, soakin in the sun for we know that the cold grey days of the rainy season will be coming soon.  But till then, it's naps for us.

Since this is her 900th post, Mummy was looking at the stats for her blog that are provided by the ebil blogspot - and she wonders why there would be 100 page views from Russia in the past week, or why sometimes it lists the referring sites and it is a web site that sells "medicines for guys" - She wonders what the heck that is all about...

The Shepherd is harvesting his cabbage crop this afternoon and Mummy will chop it all up to make coleslaw for their church BBQ tomorrow.  She's also going to snap 7 pounds of green beans - they are expecting about 30 people - so she'll be busy this afternoon.

Speaking of Green Beans, I know that she also promised you the new recipe that she came up with for Bean Salad earlier this summer.  She said it was so good that she and The Shepherd were both eating it by the bowl full!  She said you could put any combination of beans and vegies in it.  The fresh green beans really added a lot to the flavor and texture.  It might also be good with fresh broccoli or cauliflower bits in it.  or throw in a can or corn and add some Chipotle pepper sauce to the dressing - Yum.  But she made it with the following recipe -

Marinated Five-Bean Salad Recipe

  • 1 can dark red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can yellow wax beans, drained
  • 3 cups fresh green beans (or one can, drained)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 large onion, quartered & sliced very thin
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, quartered & cut into thin slices
  • ¾  cup Cider Vinegar
  • ¾ cup White wine vinegar
  • 1 ½  cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ½  cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. Tastefully Simple “Garlic Garlic” or 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon coarse-ground pepper

In a large bowl, combine all vegetables. In a 3-quart saucepan, combine vinegars and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, whisking to emulsify oil & vinegars. Pour vinegar mixture over vegetables. Mix well. Cover and chill overnight, stirring several times. To serve, scoop with slotted spoon into serving dish, saving marinade to make more bean salad. Makes 6-8 servings (about 8 cups). Note: Salad can be stored in refrigerator up to two weeks, but it is so tasty, it won’t last that long.  You can keep adding more beans & veggies if you want.  If you double the recipe for a picnic, etc.  don’t double the dressing, just go half  again as much  - doubled, the salad fills my big yellow Tupperware bowl. 

So that's all the noose I've got for ya - Hope everyone has a fantabulous weekend.  Love, your roving reporter, Gracie!  


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Well, That was an Adventure!

Post # 899 -Who'd a thought, when I started this blog over 7 years ago, I'd still be telling you my stories and showing you my photos? 

I certainly didn't - - -

Now here's the "funny" part - I started my blog so I could keep my family and friends up to date on a "health issue" that I was having - and here, almost 900 posts later, I'm about to tell you a new story of "a health Issue" that came to a head on Monday.

This pretty little orchid?  A gift from a friend, who visited me in the hospital. 

THE HOSPITAL?? Yup, the hospital.- for some of you, this may be TMI - feel free to CLICK HERE

For a couple of weeks I've had problems breathing - several of my co-workers have had coughy-snotty colds - I thought maybe that's what I had - but then, it seemed more like an allergy - and taking an antihistamine did seem to help - till last weekend.  by Sunday night I could barely walk across the room, barely get my breath.

So, Monday morning, I called my Dr.'s office - they could see me at 9:30.  I felt bad leaving work - I am the main phone answering person - I have three back-up people - one was on vacation, one had called in sick.  The other, whose husband is a nurse, said :"You get out of here and find out what's wrong"  -  Little did she know...

My regular doc was on vacation, so I saw one of the other docs in the practice - probably a good thing, because, I think that a new Dr. will often see things that your regular Dr. might miss - but in this case it was pretty apparent - they took my blood pressure - pretty normal -  took my pulse - 140 beats per minute.  ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY???  Well, I said, what is normal?  60 - 100 beats is normal - An EKG was done - I was proclaimed to be in atrial flutter and Dr. M. said "I'm on the phone with the cardiologist office in town to see if they want you there or at the ER - Can someone come get you?  Well, I drove myself here, I said - No, I'm afraid you may be having a heart attack - you are not driving anywhere.  The final verdict - They wanted me to go to the ER ASAP (or is it STAT?) and the Dr's office printed up some official paperwork that would get me in faster than a speeding bullet.

Hrmphhh - The Shepherd was working "out in the county" (translated - about 45 minutes away) - 
                 An ambulance would probably cost me about $750.00
I guess I could have called a taxi, but calling my boss seemed to be a better idea.  Bless his heart, he came and got me and took me to the hospital and dropped me off at the ER door - Did I mention that I work for really nice people?

So, long story / I'll try to make it short - I check into ER and they take me back to a little cubicle = by this time, The Shepherd had arrived -  They did another EKG, several shots of medicine (through an IV) that were "supposed" to drop my heart rate - and didn't - a chest ex ray, a CAT Scan (when the lady asked me if I'd ever had a CAT scan, I replied "Only of the four legged feline variety" - she was nice enough to laugh) (Can you hear the "cha-ching" noise running in the background?)

Now on an IV drip of the medicine that was supposed to drop my heart rate - Going down, but only slightly - and then there was that "A-flutter" thing to worry about.  They took me upstairs to the cardio unit and got me settled in a bed and put me on a heparin (blood thinner) IV in the other arm, so I didn't develop a blood clot and have a stroke.   

Everyone kept asking me "Didn't you notice that your heart was beating so fast?" Didn't you feel the flutter"  "Are you in pain?" 

All I could say was "No, I didn't notice that my heart was beating so fast, because I was focused on the fact that I couldn't breath"  And after the 10th time that someone asked me if I was in pain, I just started my conversations with people - "Hi, and NO, I'm not in any pain -  "

Did you know that they do not intend for you to sleep in a hospital - at least not at night - 12:00-vital signs, 1:00 blood draw, 2:00 check the IV's, 3:00 another blood draw, 4:00 - vital signs again - this time she wanted me to get up so she could weigh me - "I just got comfortable" I complained - "Can't you do it later?"  - She allowed as how she could - so, yup, 5:00 - in she comes to weigh me.

At about 7:00 Tues a.m. Dr. D - the cardiologist (young - cute, and looks like I could easily be old enough to be his mother) came in to chat with me and give me some care options -  My heart rate had slowed down to about 107 by that time -

Option #1 - they could load me up on medicines & send me home - hope that it continued to drop - and they would still have to do a procedure called a cardo-version to try and shock my heart back to normal rhythm - I would also continue to have the breathing problems.

Option #2 - do an esophageal ultrasound of my heart, if there weren't any blood clots, then do the cardio-version right then.  If that worked, and my heart beat returned to normal, then I could probably go home within a few hours. 

It didn't seem like rocket science to me - I went for Option #2 - and it worked - my heart "converted" back to normal - After passing a "walk about the halls" test with the nursing assistant to make sure it wasn't going to revert - they sent me packing.

Yay, home sweet home.  And things seem to be getting better - breathing issues are pretty much gone - in fact, we're going to Portland for a wedding in the next couple of days -

They never did figure out why my heart was beating so fast - The Shepherd thinks it's actually been building up to this for a month or so - I guess I just didn't notice until it "smacked me" last weekend.
I took Wednesday off to rest from no sleep the night before - and was back at my desk on Thursday.

The kittehs stick to me like glue  - I have to take an anti-clotting medicine for a month - it's a "new" one -  my insurance only pays for generics - it was $276.50!! - luckily I only have to take it for a month. 

I have moderately good health insurance - but I figure my part of this adventure will be in the $1000's of $$$ - and I was just about to get my knee replacement from 8 years ago paid off. 

You know what they say - Nature abhors a vacuum...  So it's back to The Salt Mine's I guess. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Saturday's Simple Pleasures

 Last Sunday was the annual "Around The Corner Cafe Summer Picnic"  This small restaurant was only open for a couple of years in the early 1990's - but the friendships made during that time have endured 

We have watched each others kids grow up, have grand kids, or grand cats - what ever -

Many thanks to Maria (in the blue shirt) for keeping us organized.

The day had dawned sort of cloudy and cool, but the clouds quickly burned off to a lovely afternoon.

Denise was the last to arrive, with her legendary chocolate cake.  (she mentioned this year that she had tried bringing something else one year and was kindly (or maybe not so kindly) reminded that the chocolate cake was her responsibility -  Ha, ha - and she believed us!!

In the very foreground is Jo's spaghetti & cheese casserole - Like Denise's chocolate cake, we all look forward to her addition to this picnic.  Maria generally brings chicken wings, but this year she brought a chicken, grape & pasta salad.  It was delicious!

I'm kind of a wild-card - this year I brought Marinated Five Bean Salad (I'll tell you more about it later this week) - There were chips and hummus and a wonderful margherita salad with homemade pesto! 

Look at it and weep -

Do you see why we ask Denise to bring her legendary chocolate cake year after year???

So, another year's summer picnic in the bag - it was great to see everyone, and we'll all look forward to the Christmas Cookie Exchange.

Meanwhile, back at home, George is taking in the simple pleasure of stopping to smell the flowers.

And Bella does what Bella does best - lay right in the middle of the driveway and take a dirt bath.

Oh, you wanted to use this road?

No, sorry, I own the road - you'll have to get out of here some other way. 

Thanks, Bella. 

Have a good weekend everyone! 


Sunday, August 04, 2013

Happy Sunny Sunday!

 The Shepherd, Outstanding in his Field...

He put a fence around it today because the critters are after his corn.  And they don't just pull of an ear, here or there, they pull up the whole darn plant, little buggers...

We went to an open house and potluck yesterday afternoon - he took our hostess a broccoli that was almost twice the size of this one.  She was so impressed that she put it in the center of the table.

I put 4 quart bags of broccoli in the freezer today.  It will be nice to put in soups and stir fry next winter.

I wish you could smell how sweet these sweet peas smell - truly delicious.  

And the coral runner beans are out producing his wildest dreams - I may try freezing some of them - maybe just a quart or two - that way, if they end up mushy, I won't have wasted too much  

Our Rose of Sharon is in full bloom!

I'm off to make cream of broccoli cheese soup for dinner.  I made 5 bean salad to take to my potlucks this weekend - I'll give you the recipe next week - it's the best I've ever made!