Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tom survived surgery. Thanks for asking!

See Tom. Tom survived lung surgery today. :)

Nope, not a new tattoo. Some sort of medical stuff.

Tom survived his "cherry picking" surgery today. Translation: they went in and extracted a cancer the size of over half a ping pong ball. It was growing on his chest cavity, pressing on the lung but not advancing/attacking it. The surgeon said that it is the first time in over 30 years of cancer surgery that he has taken a renal cell cancer from the lungs that actually wasn't in the lungs. It is now being biopsied.

Tom is in the hospital (NKC room 418 if you have some time for a short visit) for the next few days. He has a drain coming out of his side, draining the fluids from the surgery out....which he is very excited to have photographed tomorrow when they take it out. It is pretty gross.

See how happy Tom is with Nurse Rachel. That is because she just pulled his catheter out.

See Tom. Tom is happy. Go Tom go.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Do you see me? I am in the 16th row...

You know, I was in Belgium three years ago. :)

Watch this 4 minutes 01 second. See if it doesn't bring a smile to your face.
Thanks Dave for the link. Have a great day.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wanna take a field trip? How about a Chalk Walk Festival

There is a non-profit group in Kansas City that works to bring cultural arts to the inner city so that the folks that live in that area are exposed to culture, as well as have investment in their part of the community. This was a chalk drawing festival in a local city park this weekend.

This was my favorite. I LOVE how the artist left the tape undone, like the alligator had busted out of the box that was laid on the ground. :)

Since I usually only photograph on sunny days, only objects, I have been practicing photos in the clouds and of people. I don't think sun will be all present in the UK next month, so I have to practice now. I loved how intent this little girl was. She also was one of the only artists I think in the whole group that did not have a few tattoos on her.

The artwork was so wonderful. Bright and colorful. And I don't mean just the tattoos.

Look familiar? :)

Many of the artists drew freehand. Many others looked a pictures from the internet or something they had drawn on paper.
I love how this mother was working and the baby was just hanging out.

The beginning
While I loved many of the pieces, the children's section was truly my favorite.
Happy chalky flowers

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A real Craigslist posting/ Rain Garden

Thanks to the incoming PTA President in Liberty (buddy Kathy) for this little treat. This is an actual Craigslist posting here in KC!

Flux Capacitor
I have for sale a barely used Flux Capacitor, its in great shape
I had its specially made for me.
However due to almost ripping a hole in the space time continuum and almost making out my mom(Which is not cool!!!!)
Heres the Specs: 1 Flux Capacitor at 1.21 Gigawatts some pronounce is jigawatts
1 AC connector for LED read out
1 Display Panel Also this is the Plutonium Model which is outdated
--I know its really hard to find plutonium in 2009!
You can get a mr.fusion in the year 2015 also
Hover conversion is required for mr.fusion
Price is 2000.00 OBO I
paid over 5000.00 for this unit
all offers considered
Thanks M.McFly

On a personal note,
the rain garden is almost done
(needs it's border)
and by jove, it works!

Bob the Builder Award: Miles Nelson

"Miles Nelson turned 100 years old on Tuesday. He spent the day as he has almost every Tuesday since 1982, serving as a volunteer sorting and hanging clothing for the Clay County Clothes Closet." He gets a ride to the center from his young pup buddy, Jim, who is 77.

"The Clay County Clothes Closet goal is to provide at-risk children five changes of clothing from the the skin out--undies, socks, tops, pants and shoes."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Great quote

I read a great quote tonight. A woman was taking a much needed trip without her family but felt guilty about it. Someone said to her:

“Think of all the people who depend on you. If you go under, so do they.”

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Guest Blogger: Mallory O. from my RYLA Leadership Academy

This is Manute Bol with the brick machine that these ladies monies bought to build the school.

This fine young lady and her twin sister Meredith attended our Rotary Leadership Academy last summer. This is a cause that spoke to their hearts. They have raised $8,000 in the last 8 months and they are up for this award. Please vote.

"Dear Family and Friends,

The Letters of Compassion group at St. Pius X High School would like to invite you to please vote at the True Hero website so that SPX can win money for their community service project - The Manute Bol School Project (Building a school for the children that learn from under a tree in Turalei, Sudan). The high school with the most votes wins the money for their project.All you have to do is vote!Please click on the link below - check out the SPX post if you want - click vote - and enter your email address. Hero will then email you to confirm your vote - click on the link and you are finished!!!!!Please forward this email to everyone in your address book so they can vote too! There is only one other high school SPX is competing against, so...our chances of winning are great!!!!! Possibly $3,000!!!Let me know if you have any questions!!!

Thank you for your continued support of the Manute Bol School Project! Each day we get closer to helping to educate the children that learn under a tree in Africa.

Mallory O"

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Love your mother

I have always loved Earth Day. My best memory of Earth Day was in the early 1990s. I took The baby Girl up to USU campus to man the Earth Day booth for a friend. We ran into an old girlfriend of Mr.Fun's brother--an adorable girl who was thinking of leaving school and hitchiking around the country. I convinced her to stay in town and instead move in with us. She was with us on and off for a couple years. I LOOOOOOOOOOVE her and consider Earth Day a fine holiday to celebrate our friendship. Here is to you, Char. I bet you didn't know I always remember you today. :)

The yard in full spring bloom. Here is the rock garden I put in a few years ago when the grass refused to grow another summer. My neighbor hated it.

Love those tulips

A nice blooming shrub

Japanese Maple

Here is my our new water feature for the yard. It is called a
Rain Garden. There is hard rain here in the Mid-West. To combat
erosion and make good use to the water that goes to waste,
Kansas City has the 10,000 Rain Gardens goal.
You dig a hole in your yard that water naturally collects in
(we have another one I dug last year at the base of the yard,
at the bottom of the yard hill). Water collects there after a rain,
and it is designed to be a temporary "pond" of sorts.
Last week I saw birds and squirrels splashing about,
having their first pool party of the season. :)
If you look at the picture, this rain garden will be fed by
the house spout--noted by the red arrow. Most of the time, the pool will be
dry, so you have to make it still eye candy appealing.
I am adding a Zen flavor to mine.
I will add about a truckful of Missouri river rock,
to match our other three ponds and the rest of the yard.
My small contribution to Mother Earth this week.
Hey KC, only 9,998 gardens to go. Happy Earth Day!

What's in a name?

I just had my 8th and 9th medical appointments yesterday since the 8th of April.

Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis.

Eosinophilic gastroenteritis is a rare disease in children and adults sometimes characterized by food-related reactions, infiltration of certain white blood cells (eosinophils) in the GI tract, and an increase in the number of eosinophils in the blood. The symptoms are nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and occasionally diarrhea. His mast cells are also involved, which I told the other doctor about 14 months ago I thought they were. Hey, what do I know? :)

It can also be attributed by catching a virus and it settling in the lower stomach/small intestine. As they think it is what happened with the Boy.


We have a name and the medical biopsies to prove it. We can deal with the rest. They do not know if they can cure it or if it is something that will have to be managed the rest of his life.

We also had a great conference with the school. They said because of my diligence (thanks persistant genetic make up) and strong family support at home (thanks teachings of Mormonism) they will let him stay with his class. Anyone else they said they would have flunked.

They also told me that I should take the MCAT. No thanks. I am sick of sick people.

As for our favorite Kidney Cancer patient, Tom, the news is not as cheery.

His brain is free from cancer. Hooray!

The bad news is that the main spot in his lung has almost doubled in the last three months.
He will have surgery as soon as they can get him in and have part of his lung removed to try and control the cancer growth. We meet the surgeon on Monday.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wanna take a field trip? The locals call it "Chilli"

My mom has always used "sliced bread" as her standard measurement of coolness. You know the saying..."the greatest thing since sliced bread."

Well, when small towns want to make some cash, they have to work hard to find their special "niche." Soldotna, Alaska for example is the "King Salmon Capital of the World." Some town in Kansas has the world's largest ball of twine. We small towners have to use what we got.

And Chillicothe, Missouri has claim to the first use of the world's first bread slicing machine.

I had to head to Chillicothe yesterday in a torrential rain to do judge some high school students in a speech contest. (Now that I can drive, I am picking up some volunteer work again here and there) It is over 90 miles one way, and sadly, the entire event lasted 21 minutes. Then another 90 miles home. I didn't want to go, but alas, I had given my word.
Mr Fun would have been cranky if I had crashed the car
while photographing with the windshield wipers off--
shhh don't tell
I love the scenes you can find on Highway 36.
Especially if it is sunny morning light.
The "magic hour" I hear it is called.
No magic hours this morning

Oh, hooray...we made it.Nothing says "Welcome to our town" like a big black hearse

parked right on Main Street. It reminded me of the Ghostbusters Bill Murray popped out though. :(

Picture with me for a moment the irony of this painting.

Chillicothe also prides itself for its many murals on the building

sides which are quite well done. This one I found strangely placed.

It is of a hurricane sized wave (we are in the middle of America)

and it the trees on the shore are pines.

With what looks like snow painted on them.

You think I make this stuff up?

What is a girl to do but to visit the local bread store and of course,

purchase sliced bread for her family and friends. They even had

San Fransisco Sourdough. Does California's power know no end?

I like the Twinkie guy on the door. He looks so happy. Probably

because he is so full of preservatives he knows that he is the
Dick Clark of snack foods and will never age. :)

Thankfully my bread and I made the trip home safely,

without of the help of the town hearse.

I am telling you, these small towns should PAY me

to write their marketing ads! Doesn't it make you want to go visit? :)

Bob the Builder Award: Your homework assignment: Watch the Irena Sendler movie tonight

When Al Gore won the Nobel Prize a couple years ago, I was bummed. I am sure it is a fine movie...I have it on my DVR and may someday get to it...I recorded it in November.

I was bummed because he beat out the Rotary which of course was actually beating out me as a Rotarian. Since winning the Nobel Peace Prize is one of my life' goals, naturally I was disappointed. It isn't going to be easy for an Alaskan girl from Slowtown to win that honor.

However, I was even MORE bummed when I found out who else he beat out. Irena Sendler, a woman I have known about for several years. The woman with a WHOLE lot of canning jars during WW2.

And I quote:
"A Christian doctor's daughter with many Jewish friends (she is from Poland), she reconfigured her job at the Social Welfare Department, recruited 10 like-minded workers, and began issuing false documents with forged signatures. She also wangled a legal pass into the Jewish Ghetto, supposedly to deal with infectious diseases. In truth, the social workers "smuggled in food, medicine, clothing, and money." She also smuggled children out. First persuading complete strangers to give their children over to her, then finding ways to smuggle the little ones out--in body bags, boxes, coffins etc... and placing them with Catholic Families or in orphanges. A jar was buried in the garden in her back yard held lists of the children's real names so after the war they could be reunited with their families."

Irena was later captured by the Gestapo and brutally tortured in Pawiak Prison, however she escaped with the Underground Assistance help. She is credited for saving 2,500 children.

A little more investment in her work than hiring someone to produce a movie about the environment.

Sadly, Irena died 11 months ago at the age of 98. She didn't live to see her movie tonight or win the Nobel Peace Prize. I would imagine she would OK with all that. Irena, if I ever win, I will share my prize with you. :) It would be my honor.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I feel like vomiting

This is what I learned about myself off the internet this morning: I am like a plate of

BROWNIES -- You are adventurous (going to Ireland for no reason could be adventurous), love new ideas (like to make up stuff out of nothing), and are a champion of underdogs (Bob the Builders) and a slayer of dragons. When tempers flare up (usually mine) you whip out your saber (evil-saying tongue). You are always the oddball (so I have heard) with a unique (translation: weird) sense of humor and direction. You tend to be very loyal (to the point of it being painful).

It is spot on. Thanks, random internet quiz. I needed that. Apparently there must be more than just one oddball of me since we have our own category. That is nice to know.
Often times when Matt gets home from work, it is like I vomit my day on him. I regurgitate the events, the conversations, the hurts and happys.

So, since I don't see most of you, sometimes ever, I thought I would vomit on you. My hurts and happys. This in no particular order.

When a girl has 14 to do lists, none of which include running the everyday life, you can imagine it gets a little overwhelming. This week has been good. And it has sucked.

The boy might have a correct diagnosis--again....forget Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome
I can't drive to that hospital another time this week
I am sick of never having time alone
I love that I caught some perfect sunset light the other night at the purple field
I love to give gifts (I have a new treat for you Kathy R.)
Found a terrific street map book of the UK--a girl likes to know where the heck she is going
I am homesick for Alaska
I feel fat most of the time (and I think these hormones are making me gain weight)
I wonder why some people do what they do
I am tired of the Girl being tired all the time
I am glad Mr Fun passed another cancer biopsy series
I am sick of 6th grade homework
I am tired of strain
I can't stand these new contacts
I am glad the cake recipe worked
I am sorry my brother's beloved dog died
I love that the British woman sang so wonderfully
It is nice to have a best friend who can fix your smoking car
I love these fatty cattys and they follow me around
I wish the Boy had some medicine to help him. Who wants to see their boy cry everyday from pain?
I am so glad I went to eat soup with the monks
I love my ugly housecoats
I don't want to drive to Chilli tomorrow
I hate checking my voice mail anymore

Whew. A good vomit always has helped me feel better. I know. I have a little experience with vomit.

Have a great Friday.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Apparently "feel good" stories are "hot"

The internet is going crazy with Happy News and I thought you surely could get your fill here: :)
Have a great Thursday.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bob the Builder Award: Tim and Nancy Nicolai

Tim and Nancy own a 26 room motel in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. They bought the motel for their retirement, imagining leisurely times. A few months after they took over ownership, a mother and her daughter showed up with no money and no where to stay.

"I had empty rooms" Tim said.

Four years later, after the couple converted FOUR of their 26 rooms into "family friendly setups" with hot plates and cribs, over 100 homeless people have lived rent free with the Nicolais. Some have stayed a few weeks. Some more than a year.

They have morning coffee with Tim, and they looked through the want ads together. Through community connections, they have helped several get jobs. :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Guest Blogger: My leader in Rotary--Elizabeth

I have been thinking a lot about open mindedness this week and this came along this morning. I really enjoyed it.

"When my niece was eleven she begged for a guitar for Christmas.

She's studied classical violin since she was six, but that wasn't a skill she could use in the rock band she was forming with her friends.

That holiday she plinked out the notes to Good King Wenceslas. Three months later she was ripping through the guitar lead on Stairway to Heaven. She and her band mates couldn't come up with a name until my sister suggested "Helvetica." No one in the band realized that their fierce name was actually a computer font.

For her fourteenth birthday my niece asked for tickets to an all-ages heavy metal rock concert,a four-hour event on a Saturday afternoon. My sister and brother-in-law were reluctant to let her go, let alone accompany her. In a moment of impulsive compassion, I offered to be the parental eyes and ears and take my niece to the concert. I don't know why I do these things.

On concert day I picked up my niece and a friend. They were both dressed in skinny jeans, hoodies and Converse sneakers. I looked like, well, like I wasn't a fourteen year old girl going to a rock concert. We headed to the concert venue and got in line with a few hundred other kids wearing skinny jeans, hoodies and Converse sneakers.

The first band started playing at 4:15. There were no seats - the crowd stood on the dance floor in front of the stage, texting friends and raising their cell phones in photo salutes to the band.

I stood at a slight distance from the girls but the crowd quickly got dense. My niece turned to me and advised, "You better not stand there, it could be a little rough. Maybe you want to sit up there?"

I followed her pointing finger to a second level ringing the dance floor. It was filled with parents wearing golf shirts and khakis and sitting tolerantly on stools. Aha.

As I found a free stool, the spot where I'd been standing a minute earlier started churning like boiling water. I saw heads swinging, hair flying, as a group of boys hopped randomly and rapidly through the space that emerged, bumping each other like pinballs in an arcade game. Within a few seconds they reached a critical mass of about a dozen boys who just as quickly blended back into the crowd.

I was mesmerized. What just happened? I felt like Margaret Mead on a heavy-metal Samoa.

"That's called head banging and moshing." Somebody's mom on the neighboring stool shouted in my ear. She handed me a small transparent bag with two mint-colored pieces of spongey plastic. "First time, huh? Here, I always bring spares - ear plugs."

Over the next four hours six bands played in quick succession, bass guitars echoing through my chest and drums vibrating up through the soles of my feet. The crowd bobbed, texted, took photos with their phones.

Boys periodically churned up, moshed and dispersed. A few crowd surfers got passed to the stage, fronted by muscled security guards with patient expressions who gently lifted the surfers off the crowd, set them on their feet and pointed them to the sidelines.

As the last band left the stage I gathered up the girls. Their clothes were damp and their hair frizzed with humidity. " how was it?" I asked tentatively. "It was AWEsome," my niece pronounced. "I'll never forget this night!"

I'll never forget that night either, but not entirely because of the British band from Sheffield. My niece's birthday present was a mind-opening glimpse into a culture I didn't fully understand. The kids observed rituals, dress and behaviors that they both adopted and adapted to sustain their concert community.

That concert reminded me that if we want to connect with the members of any community, we need to try to understand them first. And to sustain our own communities, we need to keep some rituals and adapt others.

A fundamental step in sustaining a community is understanding that it has to evolve and change.

A fundamental step in connecting to others is understanding them before we expect them to understand us.

I could wish that my niece and I had gone to a string quartet concert. But it's more important for me to understand her as she is.

Understanding others is just as essential to sustaining our communities. To adopt and adapt, we don't need to learn to text or wear hoodies. We just need to open our minds."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Egg-cellent Idea

It is ironic, actually. The Girl posted about not getting mired down in the trappings of commercialism and worldly matters when it comes to the true meaning of Easter, and here I go to post the fine egg notables of the egg dying with buddies Allisons and Tallants. Apparently she gets her churchiness from her father. :)

And the winners are....
in no particular order

"Egg that needs to go on a glitter diet" to Jen
"Best Use of Pink with Flames"by JoeThe Environmental
"I want to dye the whole world" Award
by Val
The "Most Decorative and Thought"Award
to (no one made claim to these winners)

The "Best Use of Skulls with Flames" to Tom A.

because nothing says Happy Easter than an egg bearing

a skull and crossbones

"Prettiest Overall Girly" by Carol T.
The "Best Font Replication" Award to Tom L.
And our overall winner--
one who inspired Flaming Eggs
all over the house:
The "Oh! I thought I was painting
a custom hot rod" egg by Dave T.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Meet a Monk

This guy has hung out with THE Dahli Lhama. And now he has hung out with me. :)
I have some happy monk stories to share the next couple days. I love it when these kinds of crazy Life opportunities present themselves and I take Life up on them!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bob the Builder Award: That extra row of veggies

"With a little planning and effort, backyard vegetable gardens can provide fresh produce for the hungry. Harvesters is asking gardeners to add a row of produce specifically to be donated."

"Planting an extra row doesn't add a whole lot of work," says the food bank's director, "and it can make a huge difference for people in need to have fresh produce."

It is called "Plant a Row for the Hungry." It is nation wide effort that began in 1995 by the Garden Writers Association. Harvesters will collect the food at drop off points and divide it among food pantries.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

This ain't your momma's yellow sticky note

I have posted 14--count them--14 "industrial sized" four foot sized papers of lists in the front living room. For all to see. Company, home teachers, UPS man, neighbors, random people driving by and the door to door magazine salesman, who I am NOT allowed to invite in for soup anymore.

I was prepping the room to paint it, but given the number of items on my to do lists, I don't have the time or list space for the living room painting project. That will now have to wait until July--after July 3rd to be this is the date the lists cover up to.
Did you know that I actually was an Education Major in college for one--count them, ONE class. It was Elementary Dance. While we were teaching the kids some dance that we all could have cared less about, I realized I was in the wrong major. I only was in Education because I liked the smelly markers and unlimited butcher paper. Good thing I got out of that field. I have markers and butcher paper at home...who needs a classroom. I don't got those skills (hats off to my teacher friends). :)

I will only be home for four days the entire month of June. In between now and July 3rd, I have massive work to do. Besides going to the British Isles for three weeks, to turn around and head off to Fulton, Missouri for the leadership academy, I still have a family and life to run. A sick son, a husband who just had FOUR more moles removed for cancer testing again today, and everything that Mormon moms do, I was feeling a little out of control. This is my way of handling it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Another Boy Diagnosis

We spent the morning at the hospital for the Boy again. Another doctor, another guess at a diagnosis. It has been a long day and we are cautiously optimistic. :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The little Alaskan secret

Ok Friends,
I can't stand thinking for another minute about what you don't know. About fish. Pink salmon to be specific. It has come time for me as an Alaskan to explain the painful truth about pink salmon in a can you would buy at the grocery store...(pouched fish doesn't rank much better). (Of course, this is one humble opinion--other Alaskans may have other opinions)

Lesson One: The fish
Salmon that is processed through a cannery is ranked/graded as it is gutted and treated by the cannery workers. Pink salmon is salmon that is spawning and on death's door. It looks like this fish on my key chain picture I took for you. I should know. I spent a summer at the cannery and my job was to pull guts out of the fish as well as pull the strings of fish eggs from the fish guts--a highly coveted position I might add.

Fish were ranked based on how gross they were by the time they got to us. The Japanese business men bought the best grades, and the worst ranks ended up as canned salmon. The kind that you can chop up and not notice the seal bites out of it's flesh. Or their fins were only "mostly" rotted off. The kind you get at the store.

This fish below is known as a "humpy" or "pink salmon". Wiki it. It is there.

Lesson Two: Fish in the can or pouch

So now you know that the worst grade fish are in those cans and pouches. Also, the words "Fancy Alaskan Pink Salmon" are really oxymorons. Fancy, spawning, dying fish? Most dying anything isn't too fancy.

Lesson Three: Maybe, Maybe Not

This is a package of fish I saw in the grocery store that started this whole diatribe. This is the labeling on the back. Can anyone explain how "Fancy Alaska Pink Salmon" is a product of Thailand but is distributed by way of Seattle, a few thousand miles away? :)

The point is I want you to know what you are really eating. If you are a salmon lover, it might be worth the couple bucks more a pound to buy "fresh" (translation: frozen less than a year) salmon from the deli in th back of the store that is really worth eating.

I'm here to help. :) Just call me "helper."