Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming! One day I hope my little piece of internet real estate will be home to lots of family photos, pictures of my scrapbook and card art, with some random thoughts and memories posted on a somewhat regular basis. Mostly my world is very predictable, but occasionally some excitement will find me, so visit often. Who knows what useful (or useless) information you may find here.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Friends In Low Places

Throughout my career, I have been so blessed to work with some of the finest physicians anywhere.  As I have changed jobs over the years, I've been so fortunate (and very thankful) to enjoy a continued good relationship with my former employers.  Whether they want it or not, they usually get a hug from me whenever I see them.  It's probably unusual to have always left a job on good terms, and continue to be able to say good things about a former employer.  I'm really blessed in that regard.  And while I enjoy a great rapport with them all, there are a few who stand out above the rest.  One in particular actually saved the day for me today.  Because of the issues I've been experiencing with the band, I called on the expertise of one of these fabulous men.  You know how it is when you leave a message or fax for a physician.  If you're very lucky, you'll hear back from them the same day; sometmes it can be several days.  This particular doctor wasn't due back in his office until Thursday, and with his hectic schedule, I figured it would be sometime next week when he would have Judy or Carolyn call me back with a message.  He absolutely, positively placed himself at the top of the heap, when he phoned me early this morning to discuss the questions I had faxed over yesterday.  He put to rest my two most immediate concerns, and offered advice on some medications to try.  Today I have a renewed hope that I'll be able to stick it out (pun intended) and possibly avoid surgical removal.  I'm resigned to the fact that my band isn't going to work in the way it was intended, but if I can clear a few hurdles over the next couple of months, perhaps it will all work out in the end.  Surgical removal is still quite probable, but at least now I have a glimmer of hope that I didn't have yesterday.  For those who prayed for me, thank you.  My "ruby slippers" arrived this morning in the form of a dear former employer/friend since 1979, who cares enough about me to invest 20 minutes in a very personal, caring, and helpful phone call.  Most of the time we don't get 20 minutes of face-to-face time when we have an appointment!!  For all you have taught me over the years professionally, for all the impeccable care you have provided to many, many members of my family, and for all you mean to me personally... thank you so much, Dr. JMW!!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

I Don't Think We're In Kansas Any More

This was one of my favorite movies of all time.  Although, those flying monkeys did used to creep me out big time!  My mom hated that movie! How funny that the film was created the same year she was born!  Few of us ever get to that surreal place
"somewhere over the rainbow", and if we do, somebody probably already stole the pot of gold!  I was one of the fortunate ones who actually did get a trip over the rainbow, into the Land of Oz.  If you've followed me closely, or if you've checked out my other blog, you know that I had Lap Band surgery back in May.  While not a day at the beach, and a little worse than I expected, it wasn't horrible.  And it got me to Oz.  The place where dreams come true.  The dream of losing enough weight to be healthy and active, enjoy life, and to live it long enough to see my grandchildren grow up.  I've been very pleased with the results so far.  As of today, my total weight loss, including the required 20-lb preop loss, is 44 lbs.  So that's not too shabby, and I'm really grateful. It's actually 1 lb away from being halfway to my goal! 

Near the end of the movie, "the wizard" reaches into a bag and presents The Tin Man, The Cowardly Lion, and The Scarecrow not necessarily the exact things they were looking for, but a tangible icon to represent a brain, a heart, and courage. I guess I can closely identify with Dorothy when she looks at "the wizard" and very sadly says, "I don't think there's anything in that bag for me". 

Looks like there's a good possibility that, due to a complication, I may have to have my band removed.  It's nothing life-threatening, yet something that can't be left untreated, and the only treatment is removal of the band.  For now, we're just going to sit tight (no pun intended) and see if the symptoms improve, as the weight continues to drop, and see what happens.

Perhaps I really can be like Dorothy, and find that I had the power within myself all along to reach my destination.  Perhaps this surgery was meant to be The Tornado that took me to Oz, to teach me the perseverence, diligence, and confidence that I need to get it done.  In the meantime, please remember me in your prayers, and pray that I will find those ruby slippers soon.  Thanks.  Love you all!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Some Buttons Are Best Left Unmashed

{I started to have for the title Some Buttons Are Best Left Unmashed.  But that reminded me of what happened one time to Randy's cousin Teresa.  Years ago she went to the Big City for a meeting in a big hotel, and upon entering the elevator, she asked the person near the control panel to "mash" 5. (Or whatever floor she was visiting.)  She said the person just looked at her and said "Mash??? You want me to MASH #5??, okay I'll MASH #5 for you"   Surely it must have been one of those Yankee-Type People. I think  you'd have to be from way, way up north not to know what "mash" means.  Do those people eat "pressed" potatoes?  I think not.  Mash that button, Mister!!  The lady wants to go to a different floor!  Press it if you will, but we say "mash" down here. I heard that story over 30 years ago, yet every time I get in an elevator, I think of Teresa and how we used to laugh about it.}

Well, you know what?  I'm proud of my southern heritage, and so what if I'm a country bumpkin.... I'm going to change my title back to "unmashed".  So if any of you Yankee-type people are reading, it means... push.  As in, don't mash/push/press that button.

Okay.  So now on to that button that I'm saying shouldn't be mashed.  It's the number 10 button on my mama's treadmill.  For the past two days, I've had a lovely walk about dusk-time, and fully intended to do it again today.  Before I made it out the door in my walking shoes, my dad called with some internet problems.  Far from a computer geek  (very, very far!), sometimes I can get lucky, so I told him I'd be over in a bit. Their house is all out of order due to Mr. Lawrence working his magic with a paint brush, but it was time to get the office up and running again. After the internet project was complete, I spied my mom's treadmill sitting in the middle of the dining room. "This thing work?"  I asked.  "Yep, sure does!"  So I pulled off my flip flops and climbed aboard.  We flipped switches, and mashed buttons, and finally the floor beneath my feet started moving, and I was "walking"!   Four laps around the track would be a mile.  Not so bad.  I was strolling along, every now and then mashing the + button that would increase the speed by .1 mph.  Across the console of the treadmill, there's a series of buttons numbered 2 through 10.  Feeling rather comfortable with my pace, I went to mash the + button again to increase the speed just a little.  I didn't have all night, ya know.  Oops.  The 10 button is right next to the + button.  See where this is going?  Instead of the + button, I mashed the 10 button.  I think 10 means 10 mph, which is quite a bit faster than the 1.8 I had been doing. 

Did you ever watch the closing credits to The Jetsons?  Yep, that's exactly what happened.  From 1.8 to 10 mph in 1 second flat.  It was hilarious.  Thankfully I had my wits enough about me to step off to the side.  But in doing so, I dislodged the little emergency key (in place for such a time as this) and turned it off.  Now all my stats were gone from my first lap.  I think I had burned about 38 calories by that time, but I'm not 100% sure.  I had hoped having the stats would motivate me, but now they were gone. It would have been really sad if we hadn't been laughing so hard. 

I recovered my composure, though, and fired up the machine again, this time at a comfy 2.0 mph and finished out my 1-mile walk. On lap 3 I even + up to 2.6 mph, but for just a short time, then back down to 2.0. It was fabulous!!  That makes three nights in a row that I have walked.  And it feels good.  :-)   Tomorrow night is salsa class again... but I think I've talked myself out of going this week.  Maybe I'll catch it next week.  Lots to do around The 409.  But I promise, if I don't sweat it Latino style, I'll do the walking thing again.  Or an exercise video, or something.  Or maybe go use the treadmill again???  Maybe I'll even get one for myself.  I don't think it would be half bad to do it while watching tv.  I'll hafta think on that a bit.

But you can bet I won't ever mash the 10 button again!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Extra Credit

I did it!  Took my first walk today.  Maybe a mile or so?  All the way to the highway, back down the street and up to DJ's.  Then back to my house.  Woo Hoo!  The light was fading, and it was just before dusk.  My work was finished and it was now or never.  The moment I had been putting off for weeks.  The good news is, I survived!  It felt pretty good tackling the hill both ways between my house and DJs house. Now the trick will be doing it again tomorrow and the next day and the next day... So.  Do I get extra credit for today? 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Leyland The Duck

There's a sweet little boy at Leyland's school named Case.  He was in K4 this past year, while Leyland was in K3.  I met his mom a few weeks ago when I was at the school, and we struck up a conversation.  Case came wandering over, and I introduced myself as Leyland's grandma.  His mom's eyes lit up and she said "Who?"  I told her again, and she started laughing.  She said that they have a duck named Leyland at their house.  They adopted a baby duck a little while back and Case insisted that he wanted to name it Leyland.  She assured him that Leyland was a beautiful name, but wherever on earth did he come up with that?  He told her there was a little girl in K3 with that name, and that is what he wanted to name his duck.  She was tickled to learn that Case's duck was indeed named after a real person.  How cute is that.  What girl wouldn't be thrilled to know that a boy named his pet duck after her???  I never had a duck named after me, did you??

I do remember from childhood that my uncle Ricky once had a duck named Gertrude.  I'm fairly certain he didn't name her after a cute girl at school, though.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

When You Pray For A Soldier

I love scrapbooking.  I love internet message boards.  I love blogging.  Through the message boards on a scrapbook website that I enjoy, I *met* an awesome lady from Washington State.  Her name is Noel, and she has two beautiful daughters.  Noel is a photographer, scrapbooker, and designer for several craft companies.  It's strange, sometimes, how you feel like you can really get to know a person by following message board posts, blogs, e-mails, and Facebook chats.  I won a contest she sponsored last summer, and enjoyed a few personal e-mails at that time.  Her husband, Stan, is in the Navy and does something with planes.  Flight instructor, flight safety something-or-other, I'm not sure just what he does.  He has been deployed several times since I have *known* her, and it is always heart-wrenching for her cyberspace friends when he has to leave.  I don't remember exactly the date of his latest deployment, I'm thinking about nine or ten months ago.  A lifetime ago to his wife and children, I'm sure.  Anyway, when she asked for prayers at the time of his last deployment, I added him to the list of military personnel that are listed each week in my church bulletin. 

I was so happy to let them know last Sunday that his name could be removed (not that we still won't be praying for Stan, but now he is out of the *Hot Zone*), as he was scheduled to come home this past week.  Just last night I was able to take a few minutes and look at Noel's FB photo album of that day.  I was very moved by her photos.  Here are a couple that had me sniffling. 

I don't know about you, but this is what it's all about when I pray for a soldier.  Staying safe, getting the job done, and returning home to his/her family.  Thank you, God, for bringing Stan safely home to his wife and daughters. And thank you, Stan, for not only your service, but for the price you (and your family) pay every moment that you are away from those who love you.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


My friend Paul T. and I laugh about the silly things that people put on Facebook. (Who cares what someone had for lunch, or that they are going to Publix after work, or bought a book of Elvis stamps...)

I remember when I first heard about Twitter, my thoughts were... Who on the face of the earth could possibly care about what I might be doing at any point in the day?  However, when Whitney and her family went to the beach, I signed up for a Twitter account, thinking I could keep up with my grandkids' first trip to the ocean, if Whitney tweeted about their trip.  Smart phones make connecting with friends an easy task, and I thought she might be more inclined to do that than send e-mails.  Nada.  With no news from the vacationing grandchildren, I quickly became bored with it.  Not to mention all the strange people who wanted to "follow" me.  Seriously?  I think I still have the Twitter account, but I forgot my password. 

Anyway, Facebook, for some people, has become the same kind of tool. Oh, I've posted my share of goofy statuses too, most of which are always unworthy of a comment.  (Ignored)  I'm not one of the Facebook "Stars" with thousands of friends fawning at my every post, with 50 comments after each one.  Probably half of my posts never get comments at all, and who knows, maybe my FB friends just glance right over them.  After all, what young college student would possibly be interested in my pillow talk with the grandchildren?  (Well, Kate would be that exception, but that's because she loves my grandchildren...).  Anyway, my point here is that a lot of the postings on FB are pretty silly, and sometimes I'm like... "huh?" 

Today, I wanted to share some exciting news. And since my blog is networked to FB, it will show up on FB, where I am certain that all 201 of my FB friends will be reading my blog and posting their congratulations on this momentous occasion.

Paul, this is HUGE.  I had a salad for lunch. 

Actually, Paul will understand why this is a big deal.  This is my first salad in weeks, and weeks, since well before my surgery.  I can only have pea-sized bites of whatever it is that I'm eating, so I painstakingly sliced up baby spinach leaves, a small sliver of cucumber, some green onion, a boiled egg, and some pre-cooked misquite chicken tenders into confetti-sized pieces, and grated a tiny bit of cheese on top.  Oh, yeah.  This was a very intensive labor of love.  Love for salads.  I really wanted/needed for this venture to be successful.  When introducing a new food back into my diet is UNsuccessful, I tend to never want to see that food ever again.  I sure didn't want that to happen with salads!!!  And I am so thankful to say that it went down fine, even though it took me about 45 minutes to eat 1/2 cup of my confetti salad.  Which is about right for a lap-band patient.  I am so thankful for my delicious lunch.  And I knew all my blogger and FB would want to know about it too.  I might even tweet about it.

For all the gory details about the "new me", check out my other blog:  http://cathyb-thexbandedfiles.blogspot.com/ But be forewarned, there are some scary numbers and photos lurking over there..... and you are sworn to secrecy if you read any of those posts.  If you tell my secrets, I will have to kill you.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Campin' By The River

It was my pleasure to spend the weekend at home with the grandchildren, while their mom and dad went camping.  Now I must admit, I didn't have much confidence in their trip, and worried that they would 1) have terrible weather, as it has been rainy and stormy for almost two weeks here, 2) have trouble setting up camp, 3) generally be miserable.  Whitney has camped a good bit before, but was always the kid, and never had to be responsible for anything except having a good time.  I'm not sure of Dustin's wilderness experience.  Their destination for the weekend was a no-frills campground on the Tallulah River in NE Georgia.  Whitney's dad loaned them the camping gear, and offered advice from his personal camping experience. 

On a really funny side note... the tent is identical to one that we bought many years ago while married.   Our maiden voyage with the tent found us by that same river with only a few precious moments before darkness fell.  Randy was all in a dither and hurry trying to get the tent up while we still had light.  He would set up a pole, tell me to hold it secure, and he'd go off to set the opposing one.  Well, mine kept falling.  (To hear him tell it, I was dropping it, but I wasn't... he was just pulling too hard!)  Then the unthinkable happened.  I got tickled.  The harder I laughed, the angrier he got.  The angrier he got, the harder I laughed.  Now, Randy didn't get mad too terribly often, and he most certainly never used profanity (directed at me)... but on this particular occasion, when the situation was becoming critical, i.e. it was gettin' dark in them thar hills... he glared at me one last time, and told me if I didn't shut the $%#* up, he was going to throw my @$$ in that #&%* river.   So I decided I'd best stop laughing.  At least on the outside.  But I was so shocked at what he said, that I was absolutely about to bust a gut from laughing on the inside!!!  But, I contained my hysterical giggling, and got serious about tent-pitching.  I do believe we put the finishing touches on it by flashlight, but thankfully we had a dry shelter in which to sleep.  Notice I didn't say warm, because it was freezing cold, and I slept totally buried under the covers.  Oh, and did I mention that this was back in the olden days, when it was permissible to pitch a tent anywhere along the river as long as your stakes weren't in the (one-lane, dirt) road.  We were in The Big Bend.  No lights.  No bath-house.  No nothing.  Just us and the wilderness.  The next morning when he made coffee out of water from the river, I didn't feel like laughing any more.  I was ready to go home. 

But I digress... this is Whitney and Dustin's camping trip I'm blogging about, not mine.  Perhaps I shall tell more stories about "our river" another time.  For further info on my family's history with this particular river, read this post

Though Whitny and Dustin stayed at an obscure little campground at the bottom of the mountain, with electricity, water, and a facsimile of a bath-house, there still was no cell phone signal.  At some point she was able to text me to let me know the tent went up fine, the weather was fine, everything was just fine. 

Meanwhile back at home, I was having a wonderful time with the munchkins! They were perfect little sweeties. On Friday, we went to the mall to "the jumpy place" and they had a grand time.

They played outside on the jeep till dinner time, then Greemaw fed them deliciously nutritious Happy Meals from McDonald's, while I my ownself enjoyed some seasoned talapia, broccoli and baked potato from Captain Ds.  Or more accurately, I enjoyed the talapia.  Wish I had known the kids would eat most of my plate (which worked out great for me anyway), and I'd have held off on the Happy Meals.  Corey ate most of the broccoli and potato, and Leyland ate all of the rice and a little bit of the fish.  Oh well.  At least MY dinner food wasn't wasted.  We all enjoyed it.  Just as well they didn't much touch their food last night, because today Leyland wanted to go back to McDonald's "to play".  So, I decided a quick lunch of chicken mcnuggets, apples and chocolate milk, then a little time on the playground would be just what they needed right before naptime!  While we were there, Whit called and said they were home already.  Their camping trip was a success!!  They arrived home safely, all camping gear intact, and they caught eight trout besides!!  The fish were really biting, they said, and they could have caught more, except they only bought one trout stamp, and were respectful of the laws that dictate the daily limit.  Whitney caught four, and Dustin caught four.  (I'm sure glad she didn't get carded, because she just doesn't look like a "Dustin"!)  So, I was very happy to know that they were home, and after a bit, rounded up the kids from the playground and headed home.  They were so proud of their catch, and couldn't wait to show me. 

Can I just say.... WHOA BABY!!  I have grown up all my life catching, attempting to catch, and eating trout caught out of that river.   The average size that the fellas usually came home with was maybe 7 or 8 inches (before cleaning, with the heads still on!).  Sometimes maybe a 9 or 10 inch fish would make its way home, and boy, oh boy, would there EVER be some razzin' between those dear men of ours!  Some years the catch would consist of what should probably have been considered fingerlings, but we ate those "minnows" anyway, and loved every tender little morsel. 

My daddy, my brother, my uncles, and my male cousins, and Whitney's daddy would all just probably faint dead away if they saw the fish that Whit and Dustin brought home.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Even after cleaning, (with their heads cut off), one of the fish was almost 13" long!!  Seriously!  I even accused her of going to a trout farm, but it would have cost them a week's pay for these huge monsters at a trout farm!  I'm posting pictures.  The red dish is a platter.  Though the photo with the pink tape measure shows a little less than 12", it was in reality closer to 13".  (yeah, yeah... but you should have seen the one that got away...)  Seriously, it was the angle I was standing when I shot the photo.  The things were so huge they kept sliding off the platter.

We froze them up real good and soon we'll be having baked or grilled trout.  Mmmm Mmmm Good!!! 

I'm so proud of them for handling Campin' By The River, for having a great weekend away, and still in a bit of shock and awe at the monster fish they brought home.  Eat your hearts out, Butt-In-Brothers!!!!

Sure wish I could go back to The Mountains one last time, with all our menfolk there, safe and healthy, for one more fish fry... one more night of all the magic that happened when our family was together.  I sure do miss those days, and the way things used to be.  I really miss those Stainback men too.

Whitney and Dustin, perhaps they are smiling down on your big catch, and remembering the days when they, too, fished in the river!!